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Full text of "Smart Computing Volume 22 Issue 6"

WebMinds Easy Duplicate Finder p.13 



How To Set Up A Projector p.70 



& C O N S U 



Wm ^P" ^ smartcomputing.c 

nUComputmg 

M E R ELECTRONICS, | In Pbin Fnfllkll *J 



® 



In Plain English 



Sandhills 
Publishing 



June 

2011 

Vol. 22 Iss. 06 

$5.99 U.S. 

$799 Canada 



id 



i 



0SISI 

Bras 



Protect Your Network 





Cloud Backup 

How It Works, Why It's Safe p.38 

Windows Remote 
Assistance 

A Far-Flung Life 
Preserver p.34 




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News & Notes 



Windows Central 



5 Save Thousands With CarMD: 
The Computerized "Car Doctor" 

8 Technology News & Notes 

13 WebMinds Easy Duplicate Finder 

16 Small Business Resources 

17 Small Business Development Centers 



32 Windows News, Views & Tips 

34 Windows Remote Assistance To The Rescue 



Reviews 

18 Tech Diaries 

Our Smart Computing columnists spent 
some quality time with an HTC Arrive, a 
Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000, and a Roku. 

22 Roundup: PDF Readers 

26 Hardware 

26 4ipnet HSC200 Wireless Hotspot 

Gateway & Network Ticket Generator Kit 




27 Plextor PX-LB950UE External 
12XBIu-ray Disc Writer 

28 Software 

28 Diskeeper 2011 Professional 

29 WhiteCanyon Software WipeDrive 6 

30 Uniblue PowerSuite 201 1 

31 Lamantine Software Sticky Password 5.0 
3 1 Eltima Software SyncMate Expert Edition 



Customer Service 

(For questions about your 
subscription or to place an 
order or change an address.) 
customer-service® 
smartcomputing.com 
(800) 733-3809 
FAX: (402) 479-2193 

To make a payment 
Smart Computing 

P.O. Box 85673 
Lincoln, NE68501-5380 

General inquiries 
Smart Computing 

P.O. Box 82545 
Lincoln, NE68501-5380 

Authorization For Reprints 

(800) 247-4880 

Hours 

Mon. - Fri.: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CST) 
Online Customer Service 
& Subscription Center 
www.smartcomputing.com 

Product Coverage Inquiries 

products@smartcomputing.com 
(800) 247-4880 
131 West Grand Drive 
Lincoln, NE 68521 

Reader Feedback 

editor@smartcomputing.com 



Copyright 2011 by Sandhills Publishing 
Company. Smart Computing is a registered 
trademark of Sandhills Publishing Company. 
All rights reserved. Reproduction of material 
appearing in Smart Computing is strictly 
prohibited without written permission. Printed 
in the U.S.A. GST# 123482788RT0001 Smart 
Computing USPS 005-665 (ISSN 1093-4170) 
is published monthly for $29 per year by 
Sandhills Publishing Company, 131 West 
Grand Drive, P.O. Box 82545, Lincoln, NE 
68501 . Subscriber Services: (800) 424-7900. 
Periodicals postage paid at Lincoln, NE. 
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 
Smart Computing, P.O. Box 82545, Lincoln, 
NE 68501. 




Sandhills 
Publishing- 



Computers & Electronics 



Mac Corner 



Personal Technology 



38 Cloud Backup 

How It Works, 
Why It's Safe 




41 A Slice Of Apple 

MacBook Pro Refresh, 
Featuring Thunderbolt 

42 Fresh Fruit 

Great Business Apps For iPad/ 
iPhone/iPod 



58 Find It Online 
60 Readers' Tips 

65 Ovation 

This month, we feature these products: 

■ FINIS Swimsense 

■ Grantwood Technology tuneband 




Tech Support 



66 What To Do When 

Your PC Is Slow 




70 How To Set Up 

A Projector 

73 Software Updates 

75 Tech Talk 

Network-Attached 
Storage 

78 Tales From The Trenches: 

Getting A Charge 



Editor's Note 



Quick Studies 



14 Adobe Acrobat X Pro 

A Rewarding IT Resource 

37 Microsoft Office 2010 

Customize The Interface 

61 ■ Corel WordPerfect Office X5 

Organize Notes With Lightning 

64 ■ Intuit QuickBooks 
Premier 2011 

Create Batch Invoices 

69 Is OpenOffice.org 3 

Create A Timesheet 



intuit 




Security is (or should be) a never-ending concern for anyone who 
has a network. If you aren't paying attention to the status of your 
defenses (and making sure that all network users are taking basic 
precautions), you're likely leaving a door open to threats. 

Criminals attack networks for a range of reasons. The one that 
drives many malicious users is personal data. Your home network 
is a target because you likely store personal data on your home 
computer — and you almost certainly type that data into your 
keyboard when you shop online. With the right tools, a hacker 
can catch your credit card information as you type. 

Personal data is often the prize for malicious users who 
target businesses, too. Whereas a home network may net a 
crook a credit card number or two, an inadequately protected 
business can expose thousands or millions. Large corporations 
have trained IT staff to protect against these sorts of 
catastrophes. As a home owner or small business owner, you 
have only you — and Smart Computing. We'll show you how to 
batten down the hatches and help you educate your users about 
common social engineering techniques. 



J&fa* & CJU. 



Joshua Gulick 



Smart Solutions 



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something covered under a safety recall? But 
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CarMD uses the same technology as ex- 
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3. Connect CarMD to your computer 
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CarMD works on all 1996 and newer 
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and domestic. It monitors everything 
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Technology News & Notes 



Compiled by Christian Perry 



STORAGE 



Dual Storage 
Keeps Your 
Data Safe 



Storing your data on only one device 
is a risky proposition considering 
that storage media always runs the risk 
of failing. One method for protecting 
against this unfortunate event is stor- 
ing data on both a local drive and an 
online (or cloud) storage site, and Hi- 
tachi Global Storage Technologies has 
cut to the chase with a new offering 
that combines both of these solutions. 

Hitachi's Touro Pro line of desktop 
and mobile external hard drives (start- 
ing at $79.99; www.touropro.com) in- 
cludes 3GB of free online storage with 
each drive, so users can automatically 
back up files to both the local hard 
drive and the cloud storage space. In 
addition to the extra peace of mind de- 
livered by the online storage, this space 
will also provide anytime, anywhere 
access to the uploaded data through a 
browser. Users can also share content 
with others through a Web link. 

The Touro Desk Pro has a USB 3.0 inter- 
face, is available in capacities of 1TB (tera- 
byte), 2TB, or 3TB, and features a stackable 
desktop design. Meanwhile, the portable 
Touro Mobile Pro comes in capacities of 
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8 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Technology News & Notes 



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meaning that you'll be able to look right through the display. 

Although that feature sounds nifty from a marketing 
standpoint, there are other benefits to the technology that 
should prove attractive to potential buyers in the near fu- 
ture. For example, transparent LCD panels consume 90% 
less electricity than LCD panels that use backlights. 

Also, because transparent LCDs use ambient light (such 
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run the panels. In addition to potential uses as an advertising 
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Technology News & Notes 



PRINTERS & PERIPHERALS 



Mobile Printing Without Bounds 

Despite the massive rise in mobile device usage over 
recent years, printing from these devices remains an 
exercise in frustration, especially when using them in 
new environments. However, Ricoh eliminates that frus- 
tration with a printer that eases the process of mobile 
printing — even for devices that weren't previously con- 
figured to connect to the printer. 

The Aficio SP C431DN-HS Color HotSpot Printer ($2,499; 
www.ricoh.com) is a 42-page-per-minute laser printer that 
takes the headaches out of mobile printing by embedding all 
of the necessary mobile printing requirements in the printer 
itself. This means that visitors to your office won't need spe- 
cial drivers, applications, or cables to connect your printer, 
nor will you need to authenticate mobile devices. As long as 
the mobile device has an Internet connection, it can print to 
fheSPC431DN-HS. 

The system works through the use of a Web-based mo- 
bile printing service that operates independently from the 
printer's network to avoid potential security problems. To 
further boost security, a private release code is provided 
for each print job to avoid sensitive documents from being 
seen by unauthorized parties. The SP C431DN-HS also 
includes a customizable interface and support for third- 
party billing systems. I 




This Aficio printer from Ricoh integrates all of the drivers and other 
elements required to allow printing from any mobile device without 
prior configuration. 



CPUs, CHIPS & CARDS 



Keep Cool The Liquid Way 

As CPU manufacturers continue to pile cores onto their 
chips, processors now operate at much warmer tem- 
peratures than past models. The stock cooling 
devices provided by manufacturers gener- 
ally work well for basic PC use, but if you're 
a high-performance user, you may want to 
consider a third-party cooling solution such 
as the Antec Kuhler H20 920. 

The Kuhler H20 920 ($119.95; www.antec 
.com) is a sealed liquid cooling device composed 
of a double-thick radiator and two 120mm fans 
that can be controlled via specialized software. 
This device uses a low-profile pump to efficiently 
circulate the cooling liquid without hampering 
the PC's internal airflow, and flexible tubes allow 
more positioning freedom for the pump. 

This device also includes a third-generation copper cold 
plate that provides high conduction and features a push-pull 
configuration that works to deliver high levels of airflow and 
CPU heat dissipation. Included software gives users plenty of 



control over the 920's operation, including monitoring of liquid 
temperatures, fan speed, pump speed, and sound lev- 
els, along with the customization of fan speeds 
based on liquid temperature. I 




The Kuhler H20 920 from Antec puts the power of liquid CPU cooling into a 
flexible design that can accommodate PC cases without interfering with the 
existing internal airflow. 



10 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Technology News & Notes 



DIGITAL MISCELLANEOUS 



Touch In Style With Bamboo Stylus 



If you're looking for a stylish new way to navigate your Ap- 
ple iPad, take a look at the Bamboo Stylus from Wacom 
($29.95; www.wacom.com). With a satin -textured body and 
balanced weighting, this stylus might just make you forget 
you ever used your fingertips to touch your iPad's screen. 

The Bamboo Stylus aims for an ergonomic feel through a nar- 
rower diameter (6mm) than some other stylus models on the market 
This stylus also features a smooth, soft tip for a realistic pen-on-screen 
feeling that can be used for handwriting notes, editing documents, 
drawing, highlighting text, and other functions. 

"A great deal of thought went into the look, feel, and weight 
of the stylus," said Rick Peterson, director of consumer brands 
at Wacom Technology Services. "We want users to take pride 
in owning a Bamboo Stylus for its quality craftsmanship and 
input capabilities, as well as its stylish looks." 

According to Wacom, the Bamboo Stylus can help perform 
tasks that aren't necessarily performed well by fingertips, be- 
cause it adds a better level of accuracy demanded by note tak- 
ing and other tasks that need precision. I 




The Wacom Bamboo Stylus designed for Apple's iPad 
indudes a soft tip that adds touch realism to tasks such as 
handwriting notes, editing documents, drawing, and more. 



DESKTOPS & LAPTOPS (PCs) 



ThinkPad X220: Performance For Pros 



While tablets and other novel mobile devices continue to at- 
tract plenty of attention from consumers and business us- 
ers alike, there remains a big need for laptops that can serve the 
needs of professionals. A new laptop from Lenovo aims to satisfy 
that market with big performance in a relatively small package. 

The Lenovo ThinkPad X220 (sale prices for the X220 started 
at $849 as we went to print; www.lenovo.com) is an ultraportable 
laptop that boasts features found in its larger cousins, including 
up to a second-generation Intel Core i7 processor and Intel HD 
graphics. Yet, just because the X220 delivers plenty of processor 
performance doesn't mean it won't last long on battery power — 
it offers up to 15 hours on the included 9-cell battery. 

New technologies are seemingly everywhere throughout the 
X220, including RapidBoot technology that speeds boot times, 
as well as Turbo Boost+, which uses Lenovo's Power Manager 
to extend the benefits of Intel's Turbo Boost technology to in- 
crease performance and battery life. There's also a full-sized 
keyboard and an advanced button-less trackpad that's 45% 
larger than what appeared on previous Tenovo models. 

The X220 also has the communication needs of mobile pro- 
fessionals in mind. For example, keyboard noise suppression 
technology helps to decrease the sound of key clicks during 
voice calls. Further, a private chat mode eliminates background 
noise when one person is using the voice program, while 



a conference call mode detects sounds from around a room 
when several people in a room are on a call. Tenovo has also 
integrated microphone and speaker mute buttons complete 
with LED (light-emitting diode) indicators to help users know 
for certain these elements are muted during conference calls. 

Along with a Core processor, the X220 includes up to 8GB of 
DDR3 (double-data-rate 3) memory, up to 320GB of hard drive 
storage (and options for various SSDs [solid-state drives]), three 
USB 2.0 ports (and an optional USB 3.0 port), a 720p high-defi- 
nition Web camera, and dual digital microphones. The X220 has 
a high-definition LED backlit display. Depending on the con- 
figuration, this laptop can include Windows 7 Home Premium 
64 or Windows 7 Professional 64. 1 




Smart Computing / June 2011 11 



Technology News & Notes 



MOBILE TECHNOLOGY 



Diminutive Veer Packs Big Performance Punch 



Mobile manufacturers often tout the 
benefits of big smartphone displays, 
and for good reason: Browsing the Web 
and performing other PC-like tasks on 
a mobile device can be difficult on a tiny 
screen. But what if someone figured out 
a way to make these tasks enjoyable on a 
device that's more than an inch shorter 
than other popular smartphones? 

The HP Veer (price unannounced at 
press time; www.hp.com) is a mere 3.25 
inches long — or about the size of a credit 
card — yet packs in big-boy smartphone 
technologies and features. This isn't the 
first tiny smartphone we've seen, but it 
has the potential to be the first success- 
ful tiny model based on its specifica- 
tions alone. 



For example, the Veer includes a Snap- 
dragon 800MHz processor, a full slide-out 
keyboard, 8GB of internal storage, a 5MP 
(megapixel) camera, Wi-Fi 802.1 1/b/g/n, 
GPS (global positioning system), Blue- 
tooth, video recording and playback, and 
even wireless router capability for up to 
five devices (through the use of HP mobile 
hotspot). The Veer's 2.57-inch multitouch 
display uses 18-bit color, has a resolution 
of 320 x 400, and includes a gesture area. 

Those gestures can be used to navi- 
gate through "cards" that show the top 
screens of open applications. Users can 
swipe left or right to scroll through the 
cards, rearrange the cards by simply 
dragging and dropping, or throw them 
completely off the screen. These cards 



work hand-in-hand with the Veer's mul- 
titasking capability — for instance, even 
if you're currently using an application, 
you can tap to enter the card view to 
launch another app, and the Veer will 
save your place in the original app. 

This tiny smartphone also includes 
HP's Just Type technology, which stream- 
lines the task process by letting users sim- 
ply start typing to begin a task. Instead 
of starting an app to search the Web or 
update a social status, users can type a 
word or name to prompt the Veer to start 
searching through all apps and contacts. 
The Veer also features integrated mes- 
saging that places all instant messages, 
texts, and pictures from the same person 



in one screen. 






HP's Veer might be 
scant in size, but this 
smartphone packs a 
wallop of performance 
beneath its hood and 
includes interface 
technologies designed 
to ease everyday tasks. 



DULY QUOTED 



"I hope it's more of a warning for the engineering groups 

that certain systems are vulnerable." 

— Ivan Seskar, associate director for information technology at the Wireless Information Network Laboratory at 

Rutgers University, comments on the increasing body of evidence that suggests attackers can hack into automobile 

computer systems and control the engine and driving-related functions such as braking. 

Source: Associated Press 



12 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



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Nobody needs extra emails in their 
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Scan Multiple Drives 

It's not uncommon to find that your 
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Fast & Flexible 

EDF doesn't limit the ways a user 
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WebMinds has found that the most 

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ing feature to trace when you made any 
changes to the file. 

Similar, But Not The Same 

In some cases, you may find that EDF 
doesn't target a pair of files that appear to 
be identical. The software now has a fea- 
ture that can prove that the files are dif- 
ferent: a checksum comparison tool. This 
feature can help you avoid accidentally 
deleting an important file. 

Regardless of the type of file you 
need to find, EDF can save you hours 
of time you would have spent searching 
for duplicate data. Don't let file search- 
ing remain a tedious job. I 



D □ 



d d easyDuplicateFinder 

Managing duplicate files is simple. 



Start the hunt for duplicate files by downloading Easy Duplicate Finder from www.easyduplicatefinder.com/sctoday! 



Quick Studies 



Adobe Acrobat X Pro 

A Rewarding IT Resource 



Document 
Management 



Beginner 
How-To 



Small business owners face many challenges. 
Coming up with the capital to launch a new 
venture, establishing and marketing a recogniz- 
able brand, and maintaining a profitable bottom 
line while keeping customer costs low are all often 
easier said than done. But one of the most difficult 
obstacles small businesses face is IT management. 
Without a large budget to allow for dedicated 




Take customization to a whole new level by creating your own 
PDF portfolio layout with the Adobe Portfolio SDK. 

and trained IT staff, many small businesses find 
themselves doing the best they can with the staff 
and resources they have. This often leads to frustra- 
tion and lost productivity. If you use Adobe prod- 
ucts in your business and you find yourself facing 
some of the same issues, we suggest you check out 
the newly launched Acrobat IT Resource Center 
(www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/it.html). 

Site Guide 

The site, which launched in April, is designed for 
IT professionals as a place where they can learn more 
about using Adobe and Acrobat technology to help 
solve workaday problems. The site is free, and the 
content is a nice mixture of high-end technological 
white papers for the genuine IT geeks out there and 
easy-to-follow video tutorials for the rest of us. 

The video tutorials are available in four lan- 
guages: English, German, French, and Japanese. 
But perhaps even more intriguing are the success 



stories shared by Acrobat customers, which speak 
the common language of applicability. It can be 
very useful for an entrepreneur to see how others 
are using technology to handle similar problems 
and create new opportunities. 

If you can't find the answers you need from cus- 
tomer case studies or video tutorials, check in with 
the "IT Matters" blog from Acrobat IT evangelist 
Joel Geraci. In the blog, he shares his own technical 
know-how, as well as provides insight from the Ac- 
robat User Community And speaking of blogs, the 
IT Resource Center site also provides a link to ad- 
ditional blogs from real-world Adobe-sawy users. 

Technical Resources 

If you're really ready to roll up your sleeves and get 
to work, dive into the Technical Resources section of 
the site. You'll find documentation and guides that 
provide information about enhancements and secu- 
rity patches for Acrobat and Reader software, technical 
guides for protecting content with digital signatures 
and rights management, and more. The Tools And 
Training section lets you try your hand at develop- 
ing new PDF (Portable Document Format) portfolio 
layouts and custom interfaces by using Adobe's free 
Acrobat SDK (Software Development Kit). 

The Deployment section has tools mostly suited 
for enterprise -level IT staff, but smaller businesses 
can benefit from the Adobe Customization Wizard 
found here. This free utility lets you customize the 
Acrobat installer so that different application features 
can be deployed on different client computers. 

And because it's always easier to find what you're 
looking for when topics are organized together, 
you'll likely find the help you need in the Support 
Options section. This area of the site groups trou- 
bleshooting tips, service and support plans, and 
advice from reader forums into one location. 

Free (Advice)-For-AII 

Whether you use Acrobat and other Adobe prod- 
ucts casually or rely heavily on them every day, you're 
sure to find something helpful at the IT Resource 
Center. You may not be managing an enterprise-lev- 
el IT staff, but even the smallest businesses have tech- 
nology problems to solve. And we think free advice 
sounds good no matter what your level of expertise. I 

by Jennie Schlueter 



14 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



When a computer breaks down, everyone looks to you for the solution. 

That's why you look to Smart Computing. Each issue is packed with troubleshooting information that will 
help you spot the source of the problem and get your system humming again. Our plain-English tutorials 
and large, clear pictures give you the confidence and the knowledge you need when repairing an ailing PC. 
And once your computer is running again, Smart Computing's software and hardware maintenance tips will 
help you keep it that way. Plus, you'll find info on all the new products you'll need for your home and office. 




[Computing 



Solve Software 

Gel Tour Business Apps Back On Track 



I 8=™ 



~ 



BACKul 



ih 





Small Business Resources 



The Web has a trove of resources for SOHOs (small and home offices) and 
small businesses — if you know where to look. Find an association that can 
help you meet your goals; get information from the government about 
loans, grants, and taxes; and stay up-to-date with the best small business 
newsletters and blogs. If you have a pressing question, pose it on a forum to 
see what your peers have to say. 



SCORE 

www.score.org 
(800) 634-0245 
(703) 487-3612 
1175 Herndon Pkwy 
STE 900 
Herndon, VA 20170 




Associations 
& Support 

Better Business Bureau 

www.bbb.org 

(703) 276-0100 

4200 Wilson Blvd. 

STE 800 

Arlington, VA 22203-1838 

Main Street Alliance 

(MSA) 

mainstreetalliance.org 

info@mainstreetalliance 

.org 

(603) 831-1835 

3518 S. Edmunds St. 

Seattle, WA 98118 

National Federation of 
Independent Businesses 

(NFIB) 

www.nfib.com 
(800) 634-2669 
(615) 872-5800 
53 Century Blvd. 
STE 250 
Nashville, TN 37214 

National Small Business 
Association (NSBA) 

nsba.biz 

(202) 293-8830 

1156 15th St., STE 1100 

Washington, DC 20005 



Small Business 
Development Centers 
Network (SBDCNET) 

www.sbdcnet.org 
(800) 689-1912 
501 W Durango Blvd. 
San Antonio, TX 78207 




The Entrepreneurial 
Mind 

www.drjeffcornwall.com 




Blogs 



Signal vs. Noise 

37signals.com/svn/posts 

Small Business Search 
Marketing 

www.smallbusinesssem 
.com 

Small Biz Bee 

smallbizbee.com 

Small Business Trends 

smallbiztrends.com 

The Small Business Blog 

www.sme-blog.com 




Forums 



Small Business 

Administration 

Community 

www.sba.gov/community 

The Small Business 
Community Forums 

www.smallbusiness 
forums.org 

Small Business 
Ideas Forum 

www.smallbusinessbrief 
.com/forum 

The Young Entrepreneur 

www.youngentrepreneur 
.com/forum 




Government 

Grants.gov 

House Committee On 
Small Business 

smallbusiness.house.gov 

Small Business and Self- 
Employed Tax Center 

www.irs.gov/businesses 
/small 

Small Business Adminis- 
tration (SBA) 
sba.gov 

U.S. Copyright Office 

copyright.gov 

U.S. Department of Labor 

dol.gov 

U.S. Senate Committee 
on Small Business & 
Entrepreneurship 

sbc.senate.gov 



16 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



SMALL BUSINESS 

Development 

Centers 

Assistance For Entrepreneurs 



Haven't the foggiest idea how to har- 
ness your entrepreneurial spirit, 
pull yourself anywhere using 
bootstraps, or think in or out of a box? 
Starting and running your own business 
is tough, but fortunately for prospec- 
tive and current small business owners, 
SBDCs (Small Business Development 
Centers; asbdc-us.org) dispense with the 
cliche and offer training, counseling, and 
other assistance to help you craft your vi- 
sion into a real- world success. 

Run A Small Business 

Pooling resources from federal, state, 
and local governments, as well as the 
private sector and the educational com- 
munity, The Association of Small Busi- 
ness Development Centers is truly a 
joint venture with a vested interest in 
fostering small business growth. For an 
overview of what the SBDC can offer 
you and your small business, visit bit.ly 
/dKYe2a. The SBA (Small Business Ad- 
ministration; www.sba.gov) is partnered 
with SBDCs. 

Help On Your Turf 

You may be surprised to learn that 
there's probably an SBDC branch near- 
by; there are locations in all 50 states, in 
the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, 
and even in the U.S. territories. There 
are 63 nationwide Lead Small Business 
Development Centers coordinating 
program services for every sub -center 
and satellite location in each state. Cen- 
ters are made up of directors, full-time 




staff members, and various part-time 
staff and volunteers. 

The best way to contact your nearest 
SBDC is to visit the Association of Small 
Business Development Centers' Web site 
(asbdc-us.org), input your ZIP code into 
the Find Your Nearest Small Business De- 
velopment Center text box, and then click 
Go. The results page will highlight Lead 
Centers but rank centers in order of those 
closest to your location. Often, SBDCs 
partner with universities and colleges, and 



Frequent Question 

If you're like many other people starting 
a small business, funding is at the top 
of your mind. A common question that 
entrepreneurs have for SBDCs is: "Am I 
eligble for grant money?" 

The answer depends on the nature of 
your business. Crants.gov (www.grants 
.gov) will give you a clear picture of 
your options before your visit to a Small 
Business Development Center. 



tend to be found on campuses across the 
country. On the search results page, you'll 
also find a link to the local office's Web 
page, email address, phone number, a fax 
number if available, and address. 

The Closest Thing To A Free Lunch 

The services offered may vary by loca- 
tion, but all SBDCs offer many services 
free of charge. Some typical services you 



can expect from your nearest SBDC 
include help with financial, marketing, 
production, organization, engineer- 
ing, and technical problems and access 
to feasibility studies that can flesh out a 
fledgling business plan. Some SBDCs 
also offer affordable training seminars 
to help with various aspects of running 
a business. You can also rest assured 
that your business with the SBDC will re- 
main confidential. 

Women's Business Centers 

The SBA offers WBCs (Women's 
Business Centers), which directly serve 
female entrepreneurs through nearly 
100 educational centers nationwide. This 
organization strives to assist women in 
overcoming the hurdles they face in 
today's business environment by offer- 
ing business management training and 
technical assistance to all women, with 
a special emphasis on economically or 
socially disadvantaged women. The ser- 
vices and training programs are also 
commonly offered in multiple languages 
to enable those who speak English as 
a second language or are still learn- 
ing English. To find your nearest WBC, 
visit bit.ly/hs3st2. 

Small Business, Big Payoff 

Small business owners know that 
achieving success is about taking risks, 
innovating, and making tough deci- 
sions day in and day out. Thanks to 
the services offered at the SBA, SBDCs, 
and WBCs, you're not on your own. I 



Smart Computing / June 2011 17 



Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 



Web Cam HP Goodness On The Cheap 



Blaine Flamig 



Send your comments to 
blaine@smartcomputing.com 




LifeCam HD-3000 
$39.95 
Microsoft 
(800) 642-7676 
www.microsoft.com 



Last month, I wrote about Microsoft's Ex- 
press Mouse ($19.95), Comfort Mouse 3000 
($19.95), and Comfort Mouse 6000 ($29.95), 
all inexpensive but fine-performing mice. This 
month, I bring you the company's LifeCam 
HD-3000 Web cam, which ably continues the 
good-quality-at-a-great-price theme from Mi- 
crosoft. In the case of the HD-3000, we're talk- 
ing true 720p high -definition video quality at 
up to 30fps (frames per second) emitted from 
an extremely travel-friendly design all 
provided at just a nickel shy of $40. 

Design-wise, the HD-3000 bears 
a strong resemblance to Microsoft's 
LifeCam HD-6000 For Notebooks 
($59.95) and LifeCam HD-5000 
($49.95) Web cam models, both of 
which also offer true 720p HD qual- 
ity. (Microsoft also sells higher-end 
LifeCam Studio [$99.95; 1080p HD] 
and LifeCam Cinema [$79.95; 720p 
HD] models.) Like the HD-6000 
and HD-5000, the HD-3000 pos- 
sesses a small, unimposing frame. 
In this case, the body is rectangular 
(1.75 inches wide x 1 inch tall) and sports 
a bendable, rubber attachment that's able to 
securely wrap around a notebook or desktop 
monitor's bezel equally well. 

Whereas the HD-6000 and HD-5000 of- 
fer AutoFocus ability, the HD-3000 does 
not. Though this isn't a huge sticking point, 
it does mean that if you place a business card 
an inch or two in front of the Web cam's lens, 
it won't automatically sharpen the focus. As 
with the HD-6000 and HD-5000, however, 
the HD-3000 can shoot 16:9 widescreen, 
cinematic video, and it does integrate Micro- 
soft's TrueColor technology, which automati- 
cally adjusts brightness, exposure, and other 
picture settings to match the lighting condi- 
tion you're shooting in — an underappreci- 
ated and incredibly convenient feature. You 
can manually tweak these settings, as well. 

By default, the HD-3000's video quality at 
the top 720p resolution and on down is sharp 
and exhibits good color balance, especially 



for its price. Audio-wise, the HD-3000 inte- 
grates an inconspicuous but solidly performing 
noise-cancelling, unidirectional microphone 
that performed admirably in Skype and Win- 
dows Live Messenger. The camera's 6-foot cord, 
meanwhile, provides plenty of leeway to move 
the camera about in all directions. 

Overall, the HD-3000's design lends itself very 
well to both mobile use (say, launching a video 
call from a hotel room to family back home) 
and stationary desktop use (say, communicat- 
ing with an employee who works remotely or a 
consultant located in another state). Further, the 
HD-3000's inexpensive price means you're not 
risking a great deal financially in exchange for 
acquiring a quality camera you can pack up and 
expose to the wear and tear of travel. 

Where your money arguably really pays off, 
however, is via the HD-3000's tight integration 
with numerous Windows Live components, in- 
cluding Live Messenger, Live Movie Maker, and 
Live Photo Gallery. As with other Microsoft 
Web cams, the HD-3000 includes a convenient 
Windows Live Call Button that makes it one- 
click easy to launch Live Messenger, view your 
contacts, see who is online, and start a video 
call or send an instant message. 

Integration with Windows Live Movie Mak- 
er, meanwhile, makes it possible to, say, create 
promotional videos using videos shot with the 
HD-3000. Elsewhere, viewing, editing, and tag- 
ging video and still photos taken with the HD- 
3000 in Windows Live Photo Gallery is a cinch, 
and uploading and sharing that content directly 
from within Live Movie Maker and Live Photo 
Gallery via Windows Live SkyDrive, Face- 
book, Flickr, YouTube, Windows Live Groups, 
and other services via downloadable plug- 
ins is equally easy. Outside of the Windows 
Live world, the HD-3000 is optimized to work 
with Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, and AOL In- 
stant Messenger. 

The HD-3000 doesn't have as many fea- 
tures as Microsoft's highest-end Web cams. 
The HD-3000 is, however, a solid communi- 
cation tool that won't put a serious dent in 
the company checkbook. I 



18 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Roku XD 

Cut Out Cable 



Tara Simmons Bantam 



Send your comments to 
tara@smartcomputing.com 



From prime time TV content to new movie 
releases, fresh entertainment options are in- 
creasingly becoming available on the Web. And 
while online video hasn't killed cable, the steady 
uptick in online media over the past years means 
households and businesses have options beyond 
satellite, DVD rentals, and cable. And far from 
being limited to the traditional online portal, 
a computer screen, you have plenty of ways to 
get that content to your HDTV (high-definition 
television). One way is with the Roku XD, a 
"streaming player" that I recently purchased. 

The Roku XD is a small (1.2 x 4.9 x 4.9 inches 
[HxWxD]) blackbox that connects to a TV and 
a wireless (or wired) Internet network and then 
streams online content to the TV. It's a simple 
concept that Roku has executed well, 
and setting it up is just as 
uncompli- 




Roku XD 

$79.99 

Roku 

(888) 600-7658 

www.roku.com 



cated. I plugged my 
HDMI (High-Definition Multime- 
dia Interface) cable into the TV and the Roku, 
plugged in the included power adapter, and was 
ready to connect to my Wi-Fi network. (The 
Roku comes with composite cables, but they 
don't carry HD signals, so it's a good idea to buy 
your own HDMI cable; the Roku XD can sup- 
port up to 1080p video.) The device guided me 
through the Wi-Fi connection and Roku activa- 
tion process on-screen. 

The Roku XD's main screen has a Settings 
button and a Channel Store button. "Chan- 
nels" are small applications that let you ac- 
cess different types of programming. For 



example, I clicked a channel called Chow in 
the Channel Store and was given the option 
to add it. After adding it, it showed up on my 
main Roku screen. When I click it there, I'm 
led to another screen that organizes Chow's 
programming. I can scroll through the op- 
tions and choose one of the many cooking- 
and food-related clips to watch. 

There's a mixture of free and for-pay chan- 
nels available, and topics range widely. There 
are more than 130 channels covering ev- 
erything from children's programming and 
westerns to online radio and photo-sharing 
sites. The free programming, which usually 
has short commercials, is fairly extensive and 
includes full-length movies and major daily 
news programs, such as NBC's "Today Show" 
and audio from NPRs radio broadcasts. 

Some of the best content is available via a 
monthly subscription to established provid- 
ers. For instance, you can view any of Net- 
fiix's Instant Watch offerings for $7.99 per 
month. Also $7.99 per month, Hulu Plus lets 
you watch popular shows from ABC, NBC, 
Fox, Comedy Central, and more, typically 
the day after they air. There are also sports 
packages, such as the MLB.TV channel, 
which my husband added. An MLB.TV sub- 
scription starts at $99.99 per year and grants 
access to all but a few Major League Baseball 
games. (We've been watching a lot of base- 
ball. It's very thrilling for one of us.) 

Adding a channel with a subscription re- 
quires the extra step of going online with 
your computer and entering a code issued 
by Roku, but it's all straightforward. Navigat- 
ing the simple menus and using the included 
remote to pause, play, fast forward, and re- 
wind movies or shows is just as intuitive. The 
video quality varies by provider, but the HD 
content I've watched has typically been crisp 
and clear. Like every other streaming device 
I've used, the Roku XD occasionally pauses 
as it builds up a buffer of data, but it doesn't 
happen often enough to be intrusive. A faster 
network will mean fewer interruptions. 

While the best of the best here is fee-based, 
the extensive and reasonably priced options 
make the Roku a good alternative to pricey 
satellite or cable HD programming. A fam- 
ily that loves their weekly sitcoms or a den- 
tist who shows children's programming in 
a waiting room could both cut costs with a 
device such as the Roku XD. I 



Smart Computing / June 2011 19 



HTC Arrive With Windows Phone 7 

SmarterThanYour 
Average Smartphone 



Andrew Leibman 



Send your comments to 
andrew@smartcomputing.com 




HTC Arrive 

$199.99 (with two-year contract) 

HTC 

(866) 449-8358 

www.htc.com 



Sprint's HTC Arrive with Windows Phone 
7 is a smartphone that caters to you. 
Like the Samsung Focus I reviewed last 
month, the HTC Arrive runs Microsoft's Win- 
dows Phone 7 OS, and thanks to Microsoft's 
strict hardware requirements, the Arrive is 
every bit as nimble and impressive as the Fo- 
cus was from a performance and software 
standpoint. HTC has included a few software 
extras, including the HTC Hub, which displays 
the current time and date, your recently down- 
loaded apps, and a brief weather overview. 

The Keyboard Is King 

Unlike the Focus, the HTC Arrive has a 
slide-out QWERTY keyboard, which makes 
it significantly heavier than most touch- 
screen-only devices. The multi-tone metallic 
frame and case are solid and attractive, and 
the keyboard slides out smoothly and tilts up 
at its apex. A physical volume rocker on the 
left side of the phone lets you adjust media 
and phone call volumes. My one major gripe 
with the design of the phone is the Power 
button, which you need to press to wake the 
phone whenever you want to use it. It's lo- 
cated right of center and lays flush with the 
top edge of the phone, making it difficult to 
find quickly without looking. 

Overall, the phone feels very sturdy and 
well-built. The 3.6-inch WVGA (Wide Video 
Graphics Array) capacitive touchscreen looks 
good, but it's not nearly as bright and col- 
orful as some other screens I've seen on 
smartphones. There's a 5MP (mega 
pixel) camera and flash on the 
back of the phone, and a physi 
cal camera button lets you 
more easily handle 



the phone to get better shots of panoramic 
vistas. You can also record 720p HD (high- 
definition) video with the HTC Arrive. There's 
16GB of built-in memory in lieu of a microSD 
memory card slot, which makes this phone a 
great device for media lovers. 

As you'd expect, watching video hands- 
free is easy with the HTC Arrives tilted 
screen, however, I wish more aspects of Win- 
dows Phone 7 auto-rotated to take advantage 
of the widescreen landscape orientation, for 
instance, when listening to music and ex- 
ploring Facebook Although soft keyboards 
on touchscreen phones have come a long 
way, and Windows Phone 7 has one of the 
better ones out there, nothing beats a physi- 
cal keyboard for longer messages, emails, 
and document creation. With Microsoft's ex- 
cellent Office bundled in, road warriors with 
an HTC Arrive have no excuse for slowing 
their on-the-road productivity. 

Copy & Paste Galore 

One of the biggest features of the HTC Ar- 
rive is the inclusion of the latest version of 
Microsoft's mobile OS, which includes the 
copy-and-paste function. To try it out, just tap 
your finger on a block of text to pull up a blue 
highlight with a pair of flags at either end. Tap 
and drag the flags to snag the text you want 
and then tap the copy icon that appears. Next, 
in a text-input field, tap once and then tap the 
paste icon that appears above the keyboard. 
You can also use the physical keyboard's 
SHIFT key and arrows to highlight text. 

Final Thoughts 

The HTC Arrive is one of the first smart- 
phones I've used that makes the prospect of 
doing work on it while on the road seem not 
just possible, but practical. For someone who 
writes for a living, that's saying something. I 




20 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



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Roundup: PDF Readers 

Open & Edit Documents 



What makes PDF (Portable Docu- 
ment Format) so useful is that 
many types of documents can be eas- 
ily converted to PDF documents — and 
that those PDF documents can be easily 
opened by almost anyone. For example, 
if you convert your spreadsheet to a 
PDF document, the people with whom 
you share the PDF won't need to have 
the same spreadsheet software (or any 
spreadsheet software at all, for that mat- 
ter) to view it. All they need is one of the 
many free PDF readers that are available. 

Easily exchanged and archived, the 
universal PDF also offers other advan- 
tages. PDF file sizes are compact. The 
format supports a variety of security 
options such as watermarks, encryp- 
tion, and password protection. And PDF 
documents can be created to be interac- 
tive and include multimedia components 
such as hyperlinks, movies, and sound. 

Before we dig into PDF readers, we 
should point out that readers are not the 
same as editors. Adobe Acrobat X Pro 
($449; www.adobe.com), for example, 
is a full-featured PDF editor that lets 
users create and edit PDFs. Some PDF- 
creation capabilities are built into office 
software and even some PDF readers, 
but these programs won't provide as 
many creation and editing tools as a full 
PDF editor will. Even so, having a PDF 
reader on your SOHO (small or home 
office) PC is a must. This month, we take 
a look at some popular PDF readers. 

Adobe Reader X 

With this free, standalone program 
from Adobe Systems, computer users 
can open, read, interact with, and print 
PDF documents, including those with 
multimedia files, emails, and hyperlinks. 

The Sticky Note feature lets you make 
notes within the PDF. You can empha- 
size important text with the Highlight 




Adobe Reader X 



Text feature. You can also grab a snap- 
shot of all or a portion of a document's 
text or graphics (or both) and copy and 
paste it into another document. 

The Find and Advanced Search fea- 
tures (in the Edit menu) let you run a 
search on your open PDF document or 
on all PDF documents in the folder that 
you specify. And for those users who 
have accessibility issues, this reader in- 
cludes a function where the document's 
text can be read out loud. (Click View, 
Read Out Loud.) 

If you open Reader X directly (by click- 
ing Start, All Programs, Adobe Reader 
X), a menu displays PDF documents that 
you've recently opened, as well as Acrobat 
.com services, such as Adobe SendNow 
(sendnow.acrobat.com), which helps 
users send large files over the Internet 
without attaching them to emails. If you 
subscribe to the service, you can upload 
large files to SendNow and email your 
contact a link that lets him download the 
files. The free subscription service lets 



PDF READER TIP 



you send one file (up to 100MB) for free 
and archives that file for seven days. The 
Reader X menu also features Adobe Cre- 
atePDF ($9.99 per month or $99.99 per 
year), which converts your documents to 
PDF and stores them online. 

Adobe Reader X also supports certain 
mobile phone operating systems, in- 
cluding Android. The app lets you view 
and interact with PDF files emailed as 
attachments or located on the Internet. 

Cool PDF Reader 

CoolPDF Software Cool PDF Reader 
(www.pdf2exe.com) has typical reader ca- 
pabilities. It can open, view, and print doc- 
uments that have already been saved in a 
PDF format. Once a document is open, 
you can zoom in or out, rotate the page, 
and view the document as a slideshow 

Perhaps one of the most interest- 
ing features of the Cool PDF Reader is 
the ability to convert current PDF files 
to image file formats, including BMP 



When choosing a PDF reader, consider your business and office needs. Will just a 
simple viewer with few frills suffice? Keep in mind that PDF software publishers also 
often offer paid software that provides more PDF creating and editing capabilities. 



22 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



: c.„ l PD,.. J „ - J oc [3 .,d,-^ 1 
^H ,tJ -*■■*' K) Q* + — « 8 8 |5] fl I <<) *> ^ I Create PDF Document 




Cool PDF Reader 



(bitmap), JPEG (Joint Photograph Ex- 
perts Group), and PNG (Portable Net- 
work Graphics) — among others — via 
the Save As function. 

Cool PDF Reader doesn't convert 
documents to PDE Instead, the soft- 
ware has a built-in hyperlink that points 
to a third-party PDF creator. CoolPDF 
Software also offers a program (PD- 
F2EXE) that can package your PDF 
with a viewer so that, when you email 
the PDF, your recipient can open the 
PDF without installing a PDF reader. 

Foxit Reader 

Foxit Software's free Foxit Reader 
(www.foxitsoftware.com) has several 
features beyond basic viewing and 
printing capabilities. Some of the most 
useful extras are the ability to take snap- 
shots of text and graphics, insert text 
annotations, and fill forms. The reader's 
commenting tools include highlight, 
underline, and strikeout capabilities. 
Many options are available in the Draw- 
ing Markup Tools category (click the 
Comments tab to find it), including 
Oval, Rectangle, and Arrow tools. 

The free Reader doesn't create PDF 
documents, but Foxit Software sells 
programs that do. Foxit PDF Creator 
($29.99) lets you create PDFs of printable 



PDF READER TIP 



documents. Foxit PDF Editor ($99) lets 
you edit the contents of PDF documents. 
The installation process includes a 
few extra steps you should be aware 
of. The wizard inquires if you want to 
make Ask your default search provider 
and if you want Ask.com to become 
your home page. Click the Decline but- 
ton to prevent the Ask toolbar from 
being installed on your PC. After the 
setup is complete, it asks if you want 
Foxit Reader to become your default 
PDF reader. Also, Foxit Reader offers 
add-ons at installation. You can add 



JavaScript support, Firefox plug-ins, 
and a spell checker. 

Nitro PDF Reader 

Nitro PDF Reader (www.nitro 
reader.com) is much more than a stan- 
dard PDF reader. It contains a host of 
elements to enhance the creation and 
viewing of electronic files. It can con- 
vert a variety of documents to PDF. (It 
supports more than 300 different for- 
mats, including Microsoft Office docu- 
ments like Word, Excel, and Publisher, 
as well as graphics.) It even provides a 
drag-and-drop tool for one-step, quick 
PDF creation. And on the flip side, 
you're able to extract text and images 
from a PDF and save them for later 
use. Use the snapshot tool to copy any 
document element — charts, tables, im- 
ages, text — to the Clipboard and paste 
it elsewhere. (Click Select, Snapshot.) 

This reader gives you the capability 
to type text directly on the document 
(though it doesn't let you edit existing 
text), and gives you the opportunity to 
change the font, size, color, case, and 
alignment of that text. 



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Mac Corner 



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11 Windawsttcwt.Viewtfctip! 
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Foxit Reader 



Read the installation information carefully for the PDF reader you choose to download. Some readers ask you to opt into selec- 
tions that may make changes to your Internet browser. If you check (or don't uncheck) certain boxes, you may get a new home 
page or a new default search engine. 



Smart Computing / June 2011 23 




Nitro PDF Reader 



Nuance Communications 
PDF Reader 7 



A distinctive feature of this free soft- 
ware is the capacity to fill in online forms, 
save the forms, and email them. You can 
also turn your handwritten signature into 
a stamp and use it to sign documents. 
The program stores multiple signatures, 
each with its own password. 

The collaboration tools allow users 
to comment on and review the PDF 
document with the highlight and sticky 
note features. Nitro also gives you the 



option of crossing out and underlining 
text for additional emphasis. 

It also offers a find and search func- 
tion, zoom in and out capabilities, a 
Rotate View feature, and the ability to 
view multiple pages at one time. 

Nuance Communications PDF Reader 7 

One noteworthy feature of Nuance 
PDF Reader 7 (www.nuance.com) is its 



ability to convert PDF files to several of- 
fice software formats, including Excel, 
Word, and WordPerfect via Nuance- 
PDF.com. Using the service is easy: 
Click the Convert PDF button on the 
PDF Reader toolbar. A dialog box ap- 
pears and explains that your encrypted 
document will be sent to NuancePDF 
.com to be converted to the format 
you choose. You can designate the 
document format, select a password, 
provide your email address (or your 
contact's address), and within a couple 
of minutes you (or your contact) will 
receive an email with a link to the con- 
verted document. 

If you're interested in the reverse pro- 
cess (converting office documents to 
PDF), you'll need to purchase Nuance 
PDF Converter Pro ($99.99; available for 
$79.99 as we went to print). The Web site 
also offers free trials for other Nuance 
products containing some enhanced 
PDF capabilities. 

Nuance PDF Reader also provides 
annotation tools such as highlight, 
cross-out, and underline features. It 
supports the viewing of embedded rich 
media and multi-layer graphics and 
is capable of filling and saving PDF 
forms. As with some other PDF read- 
ers, Nuance PDF Reader takes snap- 
shots of text and photos for inclusion 
in other documents; and zooms in and 
out and rotates views. 

During the download process, the 
setup instructions request your first 
and last name, and an email address. 
After providing that information, you 
receive an email verifying your email 
address. The email gives you download 
instructions and provides a link to be- 
gin the process. When the download 
is complete, Nuance asks if you want 
to make the Nuance PDF reader your 
computer's default PDF viewer. 



PDF READER TIP 



If your PDF reader includes features such as sticky note and highlight functions, be sure to make use of these collaborative 
tools in your office. The sticky note is similar to Microsoft Word's Comment feature, and it allows you to leave notes and 
comments within the document for other people who will read the same document. The highlighter lets you draw attention 
to (or emphasize) specific elements in the document. Some readers offer an extensive menu of annotation tools. 



24 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tracker Software Products 
PDF-XChange Viewer 

PDF-XChange Viewer provides an 
extensive variety of commenting and 
markup tools. Type directly on the 
document with the typewriter mode, 
create a text box, make a callout box, 
comment with a sticky note, or call at- 
tention to text by highlighting, crossing 
out, or underlining. Additional tools to 
emphasize data within a PDF include 
an arrow, line, rectangle, oval, poly- 
gon line, polygon, or cloud shape. One 
interesting annotation feature is the 
ability to add a stamp (a graphic that 
looks as though it's been stamped with 
ink onto the page) to your document. 
Some of the stamp choices include 
wording such as Draft, Confidential, 
Experimental, Final, For Comment, 
Expired, and Not For Public Release. 

With PDF-XChange Viewer, us- 
ers can also take a snapshot of text or 
graphics and insert them into another 
document, view the document in an as- 
sortment of layouts, zoom in and out, 
make use of measuring tools, search for 




Tracker Software Products 
PDF-XChange Viewer 



words or phrases, fill in and save forms, 
and customize the toolbar. 

The tooltips feature, accessed by 
moving your cursor over the icons on 
the toolbar, makes navigation easy by 
describing the function of each icon. 

PDF-XChange Viewer doesn't allow 
you to create PDF documents or add, 
move, or remove pages. The company 
offers a variety of products that have 



additional features, such as the creation 
of PDF files. 

During the installation of this prod- 
uct, you'll be asked whether you want 
to make PDF-XChange the default 
viewer and whether you want to install 
the Ask toolbar. You can decline or ac- 
cept at the time of setup. I 

by Kim Quade 



JpDF READER SOFTWARE AT A GLANCE^ 










Product Name 


Price 


Company 


Contact Info 


URL 


OS Compatability 


Notable Features 


Adobe Reader X 


Free 


Adobe Systems 


(800) 833-6687 


www.adobe.com 


Windows XP/Vista/ 
7 and Mac OS X 


Includes commenting 
tools such as the 
Sticky Note and 
Highlight functions 


Cool PDF Reader 


Free 


CoolPDF Software 


info@pdf2.exe.com 


www.pdf2exe.com 


Windows 2000/XP/ 
Vista/7 


Views PDFs and 
converts them to 
image files 


Foxit Reader 


Free 


Foxit 


(866) 693-6948 


www.foxitsoftware.com 


Windows XP/Vista/7 


Offers a large variety 
of commenting and 
collaboration tools 


Nitro PDF Reader 


Free 


Nitro PDF Software 


Web site contact form 


www.nitroreader.com 


Windows XP/Vista/7 


Converts a variety 
of documents to 
PDF from more than 
300 different formats 


Nuance PDF Reader 7 


Free 


Nuance 
Communications 


(781)565-5000 


www.nuance.com 


Windows XP/Vista/7 


Converts PDF files to 
Excel, Word, or Word 
Perfect via an 
online service 


PDF-XChange Viewer 


Free 


Tracker Software 
Products 


support@tracker-software.com 


www.tracker-software.com 


Windows 2000/XP/ 
Vista/7 


Offers a large variety 
of innovative 
annotation features 



Smart Computing / June 2011 25 



HSG200 Wireless Hotspot Gateway _ 

& Network Ticket Generator Kit 

Give Your Customers A 
New Reason To Come Back 



$740 | 4ipnet 
sales@4ipnet.com | www.4ipnet.com 



When it comes to attracting new cus- 
tomers, providing Wi-Fi access (ei- 
ther for an additional revenue stream or 
as a free service) and tethering massive 
balloons to your building are both worth- 
while strategies. 4ipnefs HSG200 Wireless 
Hotspot Gateway And Network Ticket 
Generator Kit has the potential to pay for 
itself. And believe it or not, you can have it 
up and running in less time than it takes 
to blow up one of those really big balloons. 

DIY Public Wi-Fi 

The HSG200 refers to the wireless 
module, which looks like a conventional 
wireless router: it has a pair of antennas, 
two LAN (local area network) ports and 
one WAN (wide area network) port, a 
9-pin console port, a USB port, and a row 
of LED (light-emitting diode) indicators. 
The sturdy metal housing features mount- 
ing holes for installing the unit to any 




ThePRTlOO 

uses standard thermal 

paperfor ink-free printouts. 



vertical or horizontal surface. The device 
supports 802.1 1/b/g/n wireless networks 
and MIMO (Multiple Input/Multiple 
Output) technology, which utilizes the 
dual antennas to achieve data rates up 
to 300Mbps. As a result, the device is 



suitable for streaming media, Web brows- 
ing, email, gaming, and more. The plat- 
form also supports 500 local accounts 
and up to 2,000 on-demand accounts 
for visitors. 

The Network Ticket Generator Kit re- 
fers to two different products, the Smart 
Device Server 100 (SDS100) and the 
PRT100 POS printer. The SDS100 is the 
device you use to manage and select pay- 
ment plans that you have programmed 
using the Web-based management inter- 
face. Once installed and configured, the 
receptionist, cashier, or anyone else can 
print out a temporary guest login that ex- 
pires after a set amount of time. The ticket 
will also display the payment due for the 
activated username and password. 

Security In Spades 

Your private data and the security of 
your customers' data is assured thanks 
to the HSG200's extensive list of sup- 
ported security protocols, including WEP 
(Wired Equivalent Privacy), WPA (Wi-Fi 
Protected Access)/WPA2-PSK (WPA2- 
Pre-Shared Key), and advanced features. 
The HSG200 is also capable of resisting 
common public hotspot attacks, such as 
password sniffing and DHCP spoofing. 

No Hassle, Really 

Because 4ipnet had non-technical us- 
ers in mind when it created the HSG200 
Wireless Hotspot Gateway, the product 
is easy to deploy for both self-proprietors 
and small businesses that lack technical 
personnel. We connected and configured 
the three products using the included 
step-by-step connection guide. Our cus- 
tom hotspot was up and running in less 
than 15 minutes. 




We initially 

thought setting up our 

own hotspot would be a daunting 

task, but 4ipnet effectively burst that balloon 

with the HSG200 Wireless Hotspot Gateway. 



4ipnet's Web Management Interface 
also is streamlined for non-technical us- 
ers. To set up our own payment plan, we 
disconnected the SDS100 from LAN port 
1 and connected it to a computer. Next, we 
launched a Web browser on the computer 
and navigated to the HSGlOO's IP address 
(http://192.168.1.254). We input the de- 
fault username and password (you can — 
and should — change these upon login) 
and then clicked Setup Wizard. By follow- 
ing the on-screen prompts, we created and 
named our network, selected our desired 
security settings, and configured two pay- 
ment plans. The numbered payment plans 
correspond to the numbers displayed on 
the SDS100, and users are able to cycle 
between plans by pressing the INC (in- 
crement) and DEC (decrement) buttons 
until the number for the desired plan is 
visible on the SDSlOO's display. One tap 
of the Enter button and the SDS100 gen- 
erates an account and the PRT100 prints 
out a ticket with everything the customer 
needs to know to connect, and everything 
the cashier needs to know to charge the 
customer. It's really that easy. I 

by Andrew Leibman 



26 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



PX-LB950UE External 
12X Blu-ray Disc Writer 



$239.99 | Plextor 
(510)687-1800 | www.plextoramericas.com 



Blu-ray Storage On The Quick 



Blu-ray has become synonymous with 
high -definition home entertainment, 
but aside from movies and TV shows, the 
technology's also being used in office set- 
tings for storing loads of data, currently 
up to 50GB (the recently specified BDXL 
format will hold up to 128GB — though 
a new drive capable of reading and writ- 
ing such media is necessary), on discs 
no bigger than DVDs. Plextor recently 
sent us the USB 3.0 technology- toting 
PX-LB950UE External 12X Blu-ray Disc 
Writer, and we took it for a test drive. 

Blu-ray For Work & Play 

The PX-LB950UE is an external BD 
(Blu-ray Disc drive), and as such in- 
stallation is incredibly min- 
imal: Just choose eSATA 
(External Serial Advanced 
Technology Attachment) 
or USB 3.0, connect the 
appropriate cable to the associ- 
ated port on your PC, plug in the power 
adapter, and then turn it on. Note, don't 
make the mistake of plugging both the 
USB 3.0 and eSATA cables and running 
them simultaneously. You won't get any 
undocumented speed boost. 

Because USB 3.0 is backward com- 
patible with USB 2.0, you can connect 
the USB 3.0 cable to a USB 2.0 port, but 
be aware, if you plan to hoe this row, you 
won't even scratch the surface of this 
drive's maximum speed potential. Bet- 
ter than USB 2.0 is the eSATA option, 
which outpaces USB 2.0's maximum 
theoretical throughput of 480Mbps by 
a factor of more than six, to 3Gbps. The 
newest connectivity technology on the 
block, however, beats them all. USB 
3.0 can support throughputs of up to 
5Gbps. Basically, if you have all three 
connection types, you're going to want 
to stick with USB 3.0. 



Aside from the connection, there are 
two other potential speed bumps your 
data has to traverse before it gets burned 
onto a disc. The first is the max speed 
of the optical drive and the second is 
the max speed of the media. Plextor has 
more than eliminated the former spec; 
the PX-LB950UE offers 12X BD 
and 16X DVD write speeds. 
As we went to press, 



Plextor's PlexUTILITIES, a disc and 
drive analysis program. 

The LightScribe-enabled drive has 
a large 8MB buffer, features a low-vi- 
bration design, and a sleek piano-black 
finish. It is a fingerprint magnet, but 




Enjoy all the 
convenience of an 
external drive that can run 
even faster than an internal drive. 



6X media was the fastest commercially 
available media and 8X media was on the 
way. This means this drive is as future- 
proof as any you'll be able to buy, and as 
the media speeds increase, this drive will 
rise to the occasion. 

All The Extras 

Plextor bundled in Blu-ray and DVD 
playback and recording software from 
CyberLink, including Blu-ray 3D play- 
back software capable of converting 2D 
content into simulated 3D content. As 
long as you have a display capable of 
it, you can see even your 2D Blu-ray 
movies like you've never seen them be- 
fore. The PX-LB950UE also ships with 



Plextor must' ve known it, because it in- 
cluded a cleaning cloth. 

Performance 

In our tests, the PX-LB950UE took 
just over 34 minutes to burn approxi- 
mately 45GB of data to a dual layer 6X 
50GB BD-R (Blu-ray recordable), using 
our PC's USB 3.0 port. By way of com- 
parison, our previous best time was 24 
minutes, but it was burning less than half 
as much data onto a 4X BD-R. The drive 
is also whisper quiet, making it equally 
ideal for immersive movie watching and 
use in a quiet office environment. I 

by Andrew Leibman 



Smart Computing / June 2011 27 



Diskeeper 201 1 Professional 

Improve 

Data Performance 



$59.95 ] Diskeeper Corporation 
) 829-6468 | www.diskeeper.com 



Systems Supported 
tjfj Windows XP | Vista 1 7 



For years, we have loved Diskeeper 
and the way it works in the back- 
ground to keep your hard drives 
defragmented. Defragmentation pro- 
grams have been available for decades, 
but Diskeeper is among the true in- 
novators. With the release of 2011, the 
tool has gotten even better. 

Basic Bits 

Drive defragmented aggregate the 
data — which drives normally break 
into chunks and store wherever nec- 
essary — into contiguous blocks. This 
speeds access time (and therefore sys- 
tem performance), and can literally 
prevent a drive from crashing. 

Diskeeper takes a multipronged ap- 
proach to defragmentation that eases 
its system impact and helps keep your 
drives humming along smoothly. For 
one thing, its IntelliWrite technology 
prevents fragmentation before it hap- 
pens. Its new Efficient Mode feature 
improves the defragmenting process 
by identifying problem fragmentation. 
The Instant Defrag feature tidies up 
any leftover fragments it cannot pro- 
cess during the initial file save. Both 
of these happen on the fly, in the back- 
ground, and with little to no impact on 
system resources. 

For old-school defragmenters, Dis- 
keeper also offers manual defragmen- 
tation, but Diskeeper will tell you up 
front that manual defragmentation is 
not as efficient as allowing the auto- 
matic operation to do its job. 

Out Of The Gate 

Diskeeper installs easily and with 
minimal input, giving you the option 
to install it to a folder other than the 
default. It also lets you choose whether 



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Key Features: Diskeeper provides powerful, automated hard drive performance improvement 
and an associated palette of tools to enhance overall system operation. 



to enable automatic defragmentation 
(recommended), to activate Diskeeper 
right after installation, and to receive 
news about the product. 

After launch, Diskeeper presents a 
display showing what it is accomplish- 
ing on your behalf. It shows your drives 
and the percentage of free space. 

Custom Tweaks 

After installation, Diskeeper begins 
working immediately on your behalf, so 
you may never need to change a thing. 
For those who like to get under the hood, 
there is an array of settings to tweak. Dis- 
keeper does agood job of explaining what 
the various options do (and telling you 
whether they are recommended or not). 
To see the overall configuration menu for 
Diskeeper, click the icon of three stacked 
gears (blue, red, and yellow) at the top of 



the main display. To tweak drive proper- 
ties click the Properties button beneath 
the Computer pane. 

Options include disabling automatic 
defragmentation on certain schedules, 
handing over more system resources to 
Diskeeper when you are away from the 
PC, and enabling Boot-Time Defrag, 
which lets Diskeeper optimize system files 
not available during normal operation. 

If your computer uses an SSD (solid- 
state drive), make sure that HyperFast is 
enabled for that drive. This is a technolo- 
gy specifically for — and that should only 
be used with — SSDs. To enable it from 
the main interface, select and right-click 
the SSD and select SSD Volumes. Check 
the box by Designate The Selected Vol- 
ume As A Solid State Drive. I 

by Jennifer Farwell 



28 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



WipeDrive 6 

Erase Your Hard Drive 



$19.95 | WhiteCanyon Software 
salesigiwhitecanyon.com | www.wipedrive.com 



Mac OS 



Systems Supported 
WinXP I Vista 1 7 



In computing, data is everything. Your 
projects, files, personal information, 
email, passwords, and more are all con- 
tained on your hard drive, and as long 
as you take reasonable safety precau- 
tions, your data is fairly secure from 
being lost, stolen, or corrupted. How- 
ever, even the most secure hard drive 
one day must be discarded, and that's 
when insecure hard drive erasure can 
pose a serious security risk. This is the 
problem WipeDrive 6 from WhiteCan- 
yon Software solves. 



My Data Is Erased... Right? 

Whether you're throwing out an old 
and dying hard drive, selling or donating 
your old laptop with the hard drive in- 
side, or otherwise saying goodbye to 
your hard drive, you need to com- 
pletely erase the data contained on 
it so whoever comes into posses- 
sion of that drive doesn't have ac- 
cess to the data. 

"Erasing" data, however, means 
different things to different peo- 
ple. Some novice users believe 
pressing the DELETE key means a 
file is gone, but it's just in the Re- 
cycle Bin. Even if you permanently 
delete items from the Recycle Bin, 
those files still live on your hard 
drive somewhere. The Web has 
plenty of programs that help curi- 
ous (or malicious) people unearth 
these files. 

In fact, it's surprisingly difficult 
to completely wipe out data on a 
hard drive. Even reformatting the 
hard drive doesn't guarantee that 
your data is gone forever. One way 
to completely eliminate data on a 
hard drive is to physically destroy 
the thing, but that's often not feasi- 
ble, especially if you plan to contin- 
ue using the hard drive and simply 
want to destroy deleted files. 



Overwrite It 

WipeDrive 6 provides an alternative: 
the software erases data by overwriting 
it with gibberish multiple times, there- 
by completely obscuring it. 

WipeDrive 6 lets you wipe any drive of 
any type or size, clearing out all data, in- 
cluding program files, documents, operat- 
ing systems, and settings. It also reformats 
for you, so you don't have to do so manu- 
ally later when your drive is wiped. 

For more advanced users, there is the 
option of using command line parame- 
ters for more control, and you can create 
an audit log of all hard drive events and 
import it into Microsoft Access or Excel. 



ThsWipins™' 




approved am 
Ihe U.S. Department 

of Defen« 



Option to Keep Windows and Program Meet 

mtttt'm 

EJ3 



Completely Eliminate 
Hard Drive Data 




Key Features: Department of Defense-strength data wiping; 
selective file destruction (in WipeDrive 6 with System Saver) 



WipeDrive 6 is approved by the U.S. 
Department of Defense, meeting the 
stringent DoD (Department of De- 
fense) 5220.22-M standard for security. 
It also meets several other standards, 
including AFSSI (U.S. Air Force Sys- 
tem Security Instruction) 5020. 

If you plan to part with your hard 
drive, all you'll need is WipeDrive 6. 
If you want to permanently overwrite 
certain files without damaging your 
OS, consider WipeDrive 6 with System 
Saver ($39.95). It erases all personal 
information without disturbing the op- 
erating system or your other files and 
has the ability to specifically remove 
viruses. It can also wipe external stor- 
age media such as USB flash drives, 
memory cards, and even devices 
such as audio players. 

Extraordinarily Simple 

Despite WipeDrive 6's consid- 
erable capabilities, the software 
is extremely simple to use. Insert 
the installation disc and follow 
the brief onscreen instructions to 
install. When you launch Wipe- 
Drive 6, all you have to do is fol- 
low the simple onscreen instruc- 
tions, and in a few screens, the 
program takes over, automatical- 
ly scanning your system for files. 

When the scan is complete, 
you'll be prompted to move for- 
ward with the erasure. Again, 
follow the onscreen prompts and 
WipeDrive 6 will get to work. Af- 
ter awhile (depending on the size 
of the content on the hard drive), 
your hard drive will be clean, 
ready to be safely discarded, given 
away or sold, or reused in your 
existing machine with a fresh 
Windows installation. I 

by Seth Colaner 



Smart Computing / June 2011 29 



PowerSuite 201 1 

Give Your PC A Boost 



$59.95 | Uniblue 
sales@uniblue.com | www.uniblue.com 

Systems Supported 
Windows 2000 1 XP I Vista 1 7 



Over time, changes to our PCs can 
degrade performance substantially 
and eventually cause system crashes. 
Even if we don't initiate changes, pro- 
grams make system customizations, 
drivers become outdated, and other 
events transpire that affect the effi- 
ciency of our PCs. To the rescue comes 
PowerSuite 2011, a tidy package of 
three performance-enhancing tools we 
found quite pleasant to use. 

Ready, Set, Go 

PowerSuite 2011 installs quickly 
and easily, asking standard questions 
(such as what folder to store the pro- 
gram file in and whether to add Desk- 
top icons). PowerSuite then offers to 
set a scanning schedule. If you choose 
not to set one at this point, it is easy to 
set schedules later. 

After the installation completes, 
PowerSuite launches and runs Reg- 
istry Booster, the first trick in its bag. 
Registry Booster examines your sys- 
tem's Registry, which is a file that con- 
tains settings, preferences, and other 
bits of information about Windows. 
It's not difficult for a Registry to be- 
come "dirty," as deleted programs leave 
phantom settings behind; new instal- 
lation settings conflict with existing 
ones, and more. Because Windows de- 
pends on the Registry to lead the way 
during operation, conflicting or bad 
information can slow things to a crawl. 

On our heavily impacted system, 
PowerSuite found and successfully 
cleaned 288 Registry issues. Registry 
Booster backs up your Registry before 
performing its magic to ensure you 
can restore your system if unexpected 
problems occur. 

Speed & Drive 

Next on the ticket is SpeedUp- 
MyPC, which examines your system 



for network, display, and 
resource tweaks that will 
speed up your PC. It also 
recommends deletion of 
"junk" (extraneous) files 
to free space. On our sys- 
tem, it corrected more than 
17,000 issues, the majority 
of which were junk files. 

The final tool, Driver- 
Scanner, looks for outdated 
drivers (files that help your 
system communicate with 
non-system components), 
ranking them from Old to 
Ancient. On our system, it 
found three outdated drivers 
and was able to update two 
of them. Before updating 
each driver, it creates a re- 
store point in case an update 
causes your system or its 
components to malfunction. 

Easy Does It 

PowerSuite takes an all- 
or-nothing approach that 
many users will appreciate, 
because realistically, few 
would understand many 
of the suggested changes if 

they saw them. However, 

PowerSuite logs all changes 

and lets you undo most (you cannot 

undelete junk files). 

Registry Booster restores only the 
entire Registry, but power users can 
exclude types of settings — or specific 
Registry entries — by tweaking set- 
tings. SpeedUpMyPC lets you roll back 
tweaks individually, if needed. Driver- 
Scanner lets you restore your PC to the 
state it was in after each driver instal- 
lation. The tools also let you ignore or 
delete issues that cannot be fixed. 

This doesn't mean we expect you 
to have issues. We experienced none, 



















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LivelJpdate 




Eri^ 







Key Features: The software includes comprehensive 
system-cleaning and improvement tools. 




We like that you can schedule scans for each of PowerSuite 201 1's 
main components separately. 



and PowerSuite significantly im- 
proved our PC's performance (it felt 
twice as fast). 

We recommend that the first time 
you run these fixes, you restart your 
system between each operation (Reg- 
istry, Speed, and Driver) and each 
driver update to help pinpoint any is- 
sues, should they arise. Finally, run- 
ning the PowerSuite tools with no 
other open programs will bring the 
best results. I 

by Jennifer Farwell 



30 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Sticky Password 5.0 

Manage Passwords 



$29.99 | Lamantine Software 
support@stickypassword.com | www.stickypassword.com 

Systems Supported 
Windows 2000 1 XP I Vista 1 7 



Password keepers are becoming 
nearly unavoidable in today's world, 
with an increasing number of Web sites 
requiring odd character combinations 
as password requirements. Sticky Pass- 
word is one worth a look for its ease of 
operation and enhanced feature set. 

Sticky Password is a breeze to set 
up, letting you choose how to access 
your password store (master password, 
USB drive, Bluetooth, or no verifica- 
tion). You also decide how long Sticky 
Password can remain active before re- 
quiring reverification. Sticky Password 
can disable password storage in your 
Web browsers and attempt to import 
stored passwords. 

Once it's installed, Sticky Password 
pops up when you provide a username 
or password at a site, prompting you to 



Key Features: Password generation and 

Web form filling capabilities mean you can 

spend more time surfing the Web and less 

time logging in to sites. 



Sticky Password 



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store the information in Sticky 
Password. This interface also 
lets you designate the password 
type (Shopping or Finance, for 
example). The optional Ad- 
vanced Add feature affords even 
more options, including new 
password generation. 

Sticky Password places a 
handy icon at the very top of your 
browser window from which you can 
have it log you in to any site you have 
stored. (It works on the two-stage log- 
in sites common with banks, but you 
may need to provide the username.) 



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Sticky Password can also fill out forms 
for you, and it lets you store other sen- 
sitive information in its secure vault. 
Overall, we loved it. I 

by Jennifer Farwell 



SyncMate Expert Edition 

SyncYourPC&Mac 



$39.95 | Eltima Software 
(425)646-7359 I mac.eltima.com 



Systems Supported 
Jd Mac OS 10.5 



If you have transitioned to a Mac but 
still have a Windows PC, then Syn- 
cMate Expert Edition is for you. For 
that matter, SyncMate is also a great 
choice to sync Macs with many other 
data sources including certain mobile 
devices (such as Android-based smart- 
phones), USB flash drives, Google 
accounts, and other Macs. 

SyncMate supports syncing via sev- 
eral methods (Ethernet, USB, Blue- 
tooth, or Wi-Fi, depending on the 
device), and you can perform multiple 
syncs simultaneously. SyncMate also 
provides encrypted online storage 
with your purchase, and you can sync 
it with any Mac that has SyncMate. 
You can also configure SyncMate to 
allow incoming connections from 
other Macs. 



Key Features: Mac-PC syncing make this 

a handy tool for users who own both types 

of computers. Syncing with other devices 

is also supported. 




-"t l ^ut<i5jiic 



Installation and connection 
are quick and easy, and we found 
the updated interface to be well 
-organized and user-friendly 
Before syncing with a PC, you 
must install a free applet. Other 
devices either mount like a drive 
or support a direct connection. 

The data you can sync varies by de- 
vice, as does the communication direc- 
tion (Mac to device, device to Mac, or 
both). Within these parameters, you 
decide what you want to sync (or not), 
including iTunes, contacts, bookmarks, 
and much more. SyncMate offers a free 



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version, but the Expert version pro- 
vides far more functionality for a small 
price. It also has plug-ins that convert 
multimedia file formats and resize im- 
ages as part of the sync process. I 

by Jennifer Farwell 



Smart Computing / June 2011 31 



Windows Central @ 



News, Views & Tips 



Windows 



?y joscpti iviortin 




MICROSOFT NEWS 
Internet Explorer 10 Under Development 

The paint may barely be dry on Internet Explorer 9, 
but Microsoft's already begun work on the browser's suc- 
cessor. The company released the initial test version of In- 
ternet Explorer 10 — dubbed "Platform Preview 1" — and 
plans to issue updated versions about every 12 weeks. 

The IE10 Platform Preview is intended for developers, 
but if you're feeling curious — and brave — you can down- 
load it at ie.microsoft.com/testdrive. The preview version 
of IE10 is compatible with several Web standards not 
supported by IE9, and it requires Windows 7. 

Microsoft Office 365 Enters Public Beta 

Microsoft has launched a public beta of its upcoming 
Office 365 Web-based subscription service. Office 365 of- 
fers online access to browser-based versions of Microsoft 
productivity applications Word, Excel, PowerPoint and 
OneNote, as well as other Microsoft communication and 
collaboration products such as Exchange for email and cal- 
endar, SharePoint Online for document sharing, and Lync 
Online for instant messaging and videoconferencing. 

Microsoft® 

DG.Office365 



When Office 365 beta program ends, subscription 
pricing for Plan PI — intended for professionals and 
small businesses — will start at $6 per user per month. 
For more information or to sign up for the Office 365 
beta, visit tinyurl.com/3sgal4. 

WINDOWS TIPS 
Problem Steps Recorder 

When you need help solving a computer problem, 
the best approach is to allow remote access to someone 
knowledgeable so he or she can directly see, and if nec- 
essary, control your system. 

S3 Problem Steps Recorder 



ft Start Record Q Stop Record ■£ Add Comment ! «> 



Problem Steps Recorder can help with troubleshooting by creating a 
detailed record of activities that lead up to a system problem. 

But remote access isn't always an option, and when 
it's not possible or practical, the next best thing is to 
provide your helper with detailed information about 
what you're doing when the problem occurs. As it 
turns out, there's a little-known utility built into Win7 
called Problem Steps Recorder that makes obtaining 
such troubleshooting info pretty simple. 



Windows Central @ 




To launch Problem Steps Recorder, click Start, type steps in 
the Search box, and then select Record Steps To Reproduce A 
Problem. The Problem Steps Recorder utility will appear. Be- 
fore performing whatever actions lead to your problem, click 
the Start Record button. The utility will now keep track of ev- 
erything you do, including where you click, what you type, 
and which programs you open; capture a screen shot for each 
step; and collect some additional background technical data 
regarding any error messages encountered. 

When you click Stop Record, you'll be prompted to 
name the recording, which will be saved with a .ZIP file 
extension. To see what was recorded, open the file and run 
the MHT file within (which will open in your browser). 

To send the recording to a helper, click the down arrow on 
the right and select Send To E-mail Recipient; your email pro- 
gram will automatically open with the recording file attached. 
(If you use Web-based email such as Gmail or Hotmail, you 
may need to attach and send the file manually.) 

Password-Protect Microsoft Office Files 

If you have a Microsoft Office file that contains sensitive 
information, you can guard against unauthorized access by 
encrypting the file with a password. 

To password-protect an Office 2007 (Word, Excel, or Pow- 
erPoint) file, open the file and click the Office button. Next, 
choose Prepare, select Encrypt Document, enter your chosen 
password, and then type it again. Going forward, the password 
will be required to open the file. (The password can be up to 
255 characters but be sure not to forget it because there's no 
password retrieval option.) To remove the password from a file, 
repeat the process, except clear the pass- 
word box and then click OK. 

Access to the password encryption 
settings is slightly different in Office 
2010. Click File, Info, Protect Docu- 
ment, and Encrypt With Password. 






Arrange Windows On Your Desktop 

For a quick way to arrange your open 
windows so that they're all visible but 
not overlapping, right- click an empty 
area of the Taskbar and select Show 
Windows Stacked or Show Windows 
Side By Side. To return the windows to 
their previous orientations, right-click 
the Taskbar again and choose the appro- 
priate Undo option. I 



^y- 



WINDOWS NEWS 

Microsoft Previews Next Version 
0fWindowsPhone7 

At its recent MIX 2011 conference, Microsoft de- 
moed the next version of Windows Phone 7, which 
is code-named "Mango" and due to be released later 
this year. 















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asTitle, Author, and Keywords. 

Inspect Document 

i Check the document for hidden metadata 



Mango is slated to deliver a number of major en- 
hancements to Microsoft's mobile OS, including ap- 
plication multitasking, a hardware-accelerated mobile 
version of Internet Explorer 9 (much like its desktop 
counterpart), integration of Twitter into the People 
Hub, and better support for Office documents with 
Microsoft's SkyDrive online storage service. 

The Mango update will also offer developers greater 
access to some of Windows Phone 7's 
underlying software and hardware, 
including the calendar, contact list, 
camera, and motion sensor, allowing 
developers to better integrate these 
features into their applications. 



L> 



Encrypt Document 

Increase the security of the document by 
adding encryption. 

Add a Digital Signature 

Ensure the integrity of the document by 

adding an invisible digital signature, 

Marie as- Final 



m 



make it read-only, 

Run Compatibility Cti-eck-er 

Check for feature 5 not supported by earlier 



^ Word Options X Exit Word 



To protect a sensitive Word, 
Excel, or PowerPoint file, 
encrypt it with a password. 



Smart Computing / June 2011 




Windows Central @ 



Windows Remote 
Assistance 
To The Rescue 



A Far- Flung Life Preserver 



Trying to troubleshoot a computer over the phone 
is like trying to bake a cake blindfolded, while in 
somebody else's kitchen. If you've ever been the 
long-distance troubleshooter, or even on the receiving 
end of such a call, then you know how frustrating it 
can be to get the PC back in shape. Thankfully, there is 
a better way: Windows Remote Assistance. 

Help Is Just Clicks Away 

Windows Remote Assistance (hereafter, WRA) has 
been around since Windows XP, but in Win7, the fea- 
ture makes getting help (or helping) easier than ever. 
It is designed to let one user connect to (and view) 
the Desktop of another user's computer over the Web. 
A remote user can also use his mouse and keyboard 
to change settings, view system parameters, uninstall 



Enter the password to connect to the remote 
computer 

You can get this password from the person requesting 
assistance. A RemoteAssistance session will start afteryou 
typethe password and click OK. 

Enter password 



The standard 
connection 
method requires 
the target 
computer user 
to send the 
remote user an 
Invitation file. 



and install applications, and attempt repairs on the 
other computer. In this article, we'll walk you through 
establishing a remote session using WRA so you can 
lend a hand — or let someone else do the lending — 
whether he's across the street or on the other side of 
the globe. 



l-a-l 

V j nti Windows RemoteAssistance 




Uo you want to ask for or offer help? 

■Yindows RemoteAssistance connects two computers so that one person can help troubleshoot crfix 
aroblems on the other person's computer. 






^ Invite someone you trust to help you 

Your helper can view your screen and share control of your computer. 






+ Help someone who has invited you 

Respond to a request for assistance from another person, 
^ead cur prrvacv statement online 






1 




| Cancel | 



The initial Windows Remote 
Assistance window looks the 
same for the remote user and 
the target computer user. 



Windows Central @ 



An Invite-Only Event 

The first thing you need to do when initiating a Re- 
mote Assistance session is to find someone with whom 
you trust to work on your computer and potentially 
have access to your online accounts. When you relin- 
quish control, the remote user will have full access to 
your system; you're at the mercy of her whims unless 
you pause or abruptly terminate the session. Likewise, 
if someone requests your help using WRA, just act as 
though you were in the same room with the other user 
and the target computer. For the purposes of this article, 
the target computer refers to the one in need of trouble- 
shooting, and we'll refer to the helper as the remote user. 

To begin, the target computer's user needs to send the 
remote user an invitation. You may want to precede this 
action with an email requesting or offering assistance so 
you know the other user is available to work with you. 
Often, a phone call will help facilitate the initial connec- 
tion, but once the encrypted link has been established, 
you can communicate via chat. Next you'll need to open 
the Start menu, type assistance, and then press the 
ENTER key. This will launch the WRA wizard. If you're 
using the target computer, then just click the Invite 
Someone You Trust To Help button. If someone else has 
already sent you a Remote Assistance invite, then click 
the Help Someone Who Has Invited You. 

If you're inviting someone, your options are to 
Save This Invitation As A File (so you can send it as an 



Windows Remote Assistance 

Would you like to allow test system to connect 
to your computer? 

After connecting, test system will be ableto see whatever is on 
your desktop. 



Yes No 

What are the privacy and security concerns? 



Only grant permission to someone you trust. 



attachment using your preferred Web mail provider), 
Use E-mail To Send An Invitation (which launches a 
compatible email application that you currently use, 
such as Outlook), or Use Easy Connect. We'll explore 
Easy Connect later. 

The first two options let the target computer user 
connect to the remote user in the same way; once 
you send the email or save the file, WRA will display 
a 12-digit password that the target computer user will 
need to relay to the remote user. The email recipient 
then needs to launch the attached file, which opens the 
connection password input dialog box and the WRA 




GoToAssist* 



-featured third-party remote assistance platform that lets 
two individuals (or an organization providing support to a cus- 
tomer) share a view of one system to troubleshoot and resolve 
computer problems. Like Microsoft's built-in utility, GoToAssist 
starts with an invitation, 
either via email or over the 
phone. If by email, the user 
simply launches the session 

by clicking the link. If the user has been invited over the phone, 
she can visit www.fastsupport.com, input the 9-digit Support 
Key, and then click Connect to launch the shared session. 

GoToAssist supports two-way screen sharing, file transfers, 
annotation tools, the ability to log in as administrator to per- 
form more sensitive operations, session reports, and a special 
reboot and reconnect function. GoToAssist also supports 
Macs. Try GoToAssist free for 14 days. The software is available 
for $9.95 for a day pass, $69 per month, or for $660 annually. 






window. After the remote user inputs the code and 
clicks OK, the user at the target computer will then 
need to confirm the connection by clicking Yes when 
the Would You Like To Allow X To Connect To Your 
Computer window appears (where X is the name of 
the remote user's computer). 

Connection Made 

Now, the remote user will see an image of the tar- 
get computer's Desktop. If you're not already talking 
on the phone, either the remote user or the user at the 
target computer can initiate a chat session by clicking 
the Chat button at the top of the WRA window. By de- 
fault, WRA turns off several graphic settings to main- 
tain performance, but the target computer user can 
click the Settings button and adjust the Bandwidth Us- 
age slider to display 32-bit color, enable font smooth- 
ing, turn on the background, and allow full window 
dragging. (NOTE: These settings remove visual features, 
rather than functionality. Users with low-bandwidth 
connections may experience a more pronounced delay 
when running WRA without any of the default band- 
width optimizations enabled.) 

At this point, the user at the target computer still 
has the reins. For the target computer user, this is a 
great time to demonstrate the problem for the remote 
user by recreating the error. Occasionally, just seeing 
the problem first hand is enough, enabling the remote 
user to simply describe the appropriate fix. If the situ- 
ation calls for a more hands-on approach from the 



Windows Central @ 



remote user, the remote user can click the Request 
Control button from the top left of the WRA window. 
The target computer user then needs to click Yes and 
check the box to enable the remote user to handle User 
Account Control prompts. Now, control of the sys- 
tem is fully shared, meaning that both users can input 
commands, launch applications, move the cursor, and 
manipulate the keyboard input. It's best that the user 
at the target computer leave the mouse and keyboard 
alone to let the remote user perform the troubleshoot- 
ing tasks unfettered. 

Although control is shared, there are still 
some applications that the remote user will not 
be able to view, such as 3D graphics applica- 
tions, such as games. Either user may also want to 
temporarily adjust the resolution of the target PC to 



Easy Connect option, simply click the Invite Some- 
one You Trust To Help You button immediately after 
launching WRA, and then click Use Easy Connect. 
If this option is not available, then the utility has 
determined that your computer's network connec- 
tion won't support the service, your router doesn't 
support Easy Connect, or one of the computers in 
the connection is not running Win7. If it's a simple 
networking issue, try connecting to another avail- 
able network. If you can't resolve the issue, then 
you'll have to initiate a WRA session with the email 
method described earlier. 

If both the target and remote user's systems are 
capable of running Easy Connect, then the target 
system user simply needs to tell the remote user to 
launch WRA, click the Help Someone Who Has In- 



■2* Windows Remote Assistance Settings 
You can customize Remote Assistance by changing the settings below. 

PI Use ESC key to stop sharing control 

Exchange contact information when using easy connect 

Bandwidth usage 
" Low 



-Use 16-bit color 
-Turn off font smoothing 
-Turn off background 
-Don't allow full window drag 



What do these setting; mean? 



Keep the Bandwidth Usage slider at the Low position 
if you have a slow Internet connection. 




How do you want to invite your trusted helper? 

Ydu can create an invitation and send ft to your helper. You can also use Easy Connect to simplify 
connections to your helper, Hew do I know which to cheese" 



! •> Save this invitation as a file 

You can send this invitation as an attachment if you use web-based e 



<£> Use e-mail to send an invitation 

If you use a compatible e-mail program this will start the e-mail program and attach the 



•> Use Easy Connect 

Use this option if Easy Connect is also available to your helper. 



Easy Connect lets you establish a Windows Remote Assistance 
session without sending the invitation file. 



more closely match that of the remote user's computer, 
which may help the remote user navigate the system. 

Either user can interrupt the session at any time by 
clicking the Pause button, which blacks out the remote 
user's view and halts his ability to control the target 
system. This is ideal for enabling the target computer 
user to input passwords or private data. To resume, the 
target computer's user must click Continue. To quit the 
session entirely, either user can click the Stop Sharing 
button at the top of the screen. 

Easy Connect 

This aptly named feature lets users of two Win7 
computers initiate a WRA session without first 
exchanging an invitation file via email. To access the 



vited You button, click Use Easy Connect, input the 
code from the target system, and then click OK. Easy 
Connect effectively eliminates one step in the pro- 
cess, but once the connection has been established, 
the WRA session works the same as if it had been set 
up using the email method. 

Help Is Closer Than You Think 

Windows Remote Assistance is a valuable tool for 
computer experts and those who are frequently in 
need of a computer expert, regardless of the distance 
that separates the two. I 

by Andrew tEiBMAN 




Quick Studies 



Microsoft Office 2010 

Customize The Interface 








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The latest version of 






Microsoft Office gives you 






many new ways to tailor 






the Ribbon's tabs and 








groups to your work. 



Older versions of Microsoft Office drew criti- 
cism for an interface that couldn't be easily 
customized. The Ribbon in particular came un- 
der fire because you couldn't readily rearrange 
things without downloading third-party plug- 
in programs. One of Office 2010's most notable 
improvements addresses this concern, making 
it simpler to set up the Office interface to your 
liking. Here are a few guidelines for making the 
adjustments that are most likely to improve how 
you work. 

Customize The Ribbon 

Before you get started, keep in mind that the 
Ribbon still isn't fully customizable. You can't 
alter every tool and tab you see, but you can 
add and remove tools in certain spots, and you 
can create your own a la carte tabs and groups 
stocked with features you use most. Also remem- 
ber that Ribbon customizations are specific to 
each program within Office, so editing the Word 
Ribbon won't have any effect on Excels Ribbon. 

To start the process, click File, Options, and 
Customize Ribbon. (You can also right-click 
anywhere on the Ribbon 
and choose Customize 
The Ribbon.) First, let's 
rearrange some items on 
the existing tabs. Let's 
say that instead of the 
Clipboard group, you'd 
rather see the Styles 
group on the Home tab's 
left side. In the Word 
Options dialog box, find 
the Home tab entry in 
the right-hand box (un- 
der Main Tabs). Click 
the plus sign (+) next 
to Home to expand it. 
Click Styles and click the up arrow to the right 
to move the Styles group up in the lineup. While 
you're at it, you also can reorder the major tabs 
themselves, moving the View tab, for example, 
to the first left-hand position instead of the 
Home tab. 

If you click the plus sign to open a group, such 
as Fonts, you'll notice that all the options are 
grayed out and unavailable, indicating that you 




Re nave from Quirk Access Toolbar 

customize QuiekAecess Toolbar... 

Show Quick ftteess Toolbar Below the Ribbon 

Customize the Ribbon... 

Minimize the Ribbon 



This toolbar sits just above the Ribb 
constant access to common tools. As 
add Them to The toolbar so they're or 
Ribbon and choose Add To Quick A 



The small toolbar above the Ribbon can be a big time-saver 
when you customize it with the tools you use most often. 

can't delete them from the group. That's where 
custom tabs come in. To create a custom group 
on an existing tab, click the tab's name and then 
click the New Group button. You can name your 
group and then select the tools you want in the 
box on the left, clicking Add after each one to put 
it into your group. To create an entirely new tab 
on the Ribbon, click the New Tab button and fol- 
low the same process. To rename either custom 
tabs/groups or Office's built-in ones, just click the 
Rename button. 

If you ever decide things were working bet- 
ter with Office's out-of-the-box Ribbon setup, 
you can revert to that look by clicking the Re- 
set button in the Word Options dialog box. It 
gives you a choice of resetting just the selected 
tab or all customizations on the Ribbon and 
Quick Access toolbar. 

Customize The Quick Access Toolbar 

This toolbar sits just above the Ribbon regard- 
less of which tab you're viewing, giving you con- 
stant access to common tools. As you figure out 
which commands you use most, it's smart to add 
them to the toolbar so they're one click away. To 
add a tool, right-click its icon on the Ribbon and 
choose Add To Quick Access Toolbar. If you de- 
cide you no longer need a tool there, right-click 
its icon on the toolbar and choose Remove From 
Quick Access Toolbar. 

You also can choose two different positions for 
the toolbar itself. Right-click it and choose Show 
Quick Access Toolbar Below The Ribbon or 
Show Quick Access Toolbar Above The Ribbon. I 

by Trevor Meers 



Smart Computing / June 2011 37 




Computers & Electronics 



W 




Cloud Backup 

How It Works, Why Its Safe 



The process of storing, backing up, 
and restoring data is a universal 
need for every computer user, 
from individual users with the most 
modest storage needs to giant corpora- 
tions with many terabytes of sensitive 
data to manage. Storing data on your 
computer's hard drive certainly has its 
perks: You can retrieve the data in the 
blink of an eye, and you don't need an 
Internet or local network connection 
to access your files. 

However, like all physical objects, 
hard drives (and for those bigger jobs, 
servers) eventually give out and fail. 
Some break down faster than others, 
and some experience file corruption, 
malware, and other threats. And that's 
not to mention loss or theft of lap- 
tops, accidental file deletion, and other 
forms of data loss. 

That said, physical backups have 
some of the same drawbacks as physi- 
cal storage. (For example, an alarming 
number of people keep their external 
backup drives on the same desk areas 
or in the laptop cases as their comput- 
ers.) For these reasons, backing up and 



storing data in the cloud is an excellent 
way to ensure that your data is safe no 
matter what happens to your comput- 
ers or physical storage. 

Back Up Data In The Cloud 

Storing data online, or in the "cloud," 
is a terrific way to back up your infor- 
mation. For one thing, it's a service, so 
all you have to do generally is sign up 
for a monthly or yearly service plan, 
install the software, and run through 
a few configuration screens, and then 
the service provider does all the heavy 
lifting for you (although some physical 



~ /S2I 



backup programs have some of the same 
ease-of-use functionality, too). 

But the greatest advantages of cloud 
storage are that the service provider 
manages all hardware on its end and 
ensures your data is safely backed up 
so you don't have to worry about failed, 
lost, or stolen hard drives and that your 
backup is stored in a different geologi- 
cal location (or sometimes, locations) 
as your computer. 

How To Get Started 

Getting started with a cloud back- 
up service is quite easy. First, choose 



* 



Peter Lamson, general manager of the Small Business 
Group at Carbonite, says, "We have tried to make the 
Carbonite business product as simple to use and as 
trustworthy to use as our consumer product." 



\\ 



38 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Computers & Electronics 



which company you want to work with. 
(For the purposes of this article, we're 
using Carbonite Pro as an example.) 

Head over to Carbonite's Web site 
(www.carbonite.com) and register for 



carbSnite pro InfoCenter 1 


-iijfr Set Options 


Backup Status Restore Status 




Tour backup contains: 116 KB [3 files) 
Awaiting backup: 1.6 QE [1,703 Has] 




Q Get Support 
& About 




1 1 0% 

Initial backup in progress 

Now backing up: . 
C:\UsersVidmini5b-ai.G- , ,ApFCaLa\Lccal\Hicr-G = cfL , '..Feed^ , ',Feed5 ng 
for United States" \U5A'-rJgav Llpdates.~c News and , 

J^^\ Hang in there! When the lock icon in your system 
C M J tray turns green, you're all backed up. (Then, 
^^^ updates to your backup will take just a few minutes 
per day.) 






I Copyright 2G05-2CTJ9 Carbonite, Ir 





Configuring your first backup with Carbonite Pro is simple to do; 
you can essentially set it once and forget it. 



one of its plans. Individuals will want 
the Basic Carbonite plan ($59 per year 
for unlimited backup space). Carbonite 
Pro is designed for small to medium- 
sized businesses. Its pricing model only 
looks at how much total data your busi- 
ness is using and charges based on that 
amount, rather than charging a per- 
computer fee. Plans range from as low 
as $10 a month for up to 20GB to $250 
per month for 300 to 499GB. 

Once you download and install 
Carbonite Pro, you can pretty much 
set it and forget it, as it were. The pro- 
gram operates in the background at all 
times, but it doesn't impact your com- 
puter's performance. 

If you want to add anything to your 
bevy of backed-up data, simply right- 
click the item, point to Carbonite Pro, 
and select Back This Up. If you need 
to restore a file, open Carbonite Pro 
and select Restore Files from the main 
screen. From there, you can search for 
files, browse your online backup drive 
for specific files, or simply restore ev- 
erything you have backed up. 

Remote & Mobile Accessibility 

Part of the value of having online back- 
ups of your files is the ability to get at them 



quickly when you need them. You can do 
that easily if you're on your primary com- 
puter by browsing your online backup 
drive, but what about if you're on the road 
with a laptop (that isn't your primary com- 
puter), are using someone else's 
computer, or only have your 
smartphone with you? 

Whether you're an indi- 
vidual user or a business, Car- 
bonite offers remote access 
capabilities. "For consumers, 
it's terrific for sharing pictures 
and music and so forth," says 
Peter Lamson, general manag- 
er of the Small Business Group 
at Carbonite. "For business 
applications, it means you're 
really never away from your 
office files." 

With Carbonite Pro, you 

can simply go to the Carbonite 

Web site, log in, and browse 
your online files. Choose a file and open 
or save it. Carbonite also has apps for the 
iOS, Android, and BlackBerry platforms, 
which are available in those respective 
app stores. From those apps, you can view 



and in this case, especially cloud back- 
ups, concerns security — both as it per- 
tains to hackers who do their misdeeds 
from afar, as well as data center work- 
ers who have access to your files. 

These concerns are certainly not to be 
taken lightly; Carbonite definitely doesn't. 

"Security has really been a cornerstone 
of Carbonite since we started the compa- 
ny, and this is true for both the consumer 
product and our business product," says 
Lamson. "We back up more than 80 
billion files, and so it's something that 
we take extremely seriously. If we don't 
get the security element of our business 
right, we don't have a business." 

Carbonite has a number of security 
measures in place to ensure that your 
data is safe and secure from all threats. 
Both Carbonite products encrypt the 
data stored on your computer with 
bank-level 128-bit Blowfish encryp- 
tion, and your files are transmitted to 
its data centers via SSL (Secure Sockets 
Layer) technology — the same technol- 
ogy used by financial institutions and 
the ecommerce industry for online 
transactions. Once stored, the files 













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documents, PDF (Portable Document 
Format) files, images, and the like (as well 
as listen to audio files) and email them to 
whomever you wish. Lamson says, "What 
this allows you to do is access all of your 
files from any device, anywhere, anytime." 

Safety 

One of the biggest questions sur- 
rounding cloud computing of any kind, 



remain encrypted, and you can opt not 
to allow Carbonite employees to have 
the encryption key, so nobody except 
for you can access or view your data. 

Carbonite also has private security 
personnel onsite 24/7/365, and access 
in general is limited and controlled 
by biometric scanners. To protect 
against hackers, the company invited 
an Internet security company to test 



Smart Computing / June 2011 39 



Computers & Electronics 



its system for weaknesses (a test that 
it passed). 

In terms of managing your data, 
Carbonite's data center personnel care- 
fully monitors all of its equipment. If 
a problem arises, employees are able 
to address it quickly without causing a 
disruption in your service. On the oc- 
casions that there may be some planned 
downtime for scheduled maintenance 
or something along the same lines, 
Carbonite does so in the wee hours of 
the morning over a weekend so as to 
impact users as little as possible. Ad- 
ditionally, if for some reason there is a 
problem at a particular data center — 
say, a natural disaster — Carbonite can 
temporarily move that location's data 
to one of its other centers, ensuring 
that all customer data remains secure 
and available. 

Costs 

Strong security and solid features 
are enormously important in choos- 
ing a cloud backup provider, but cost is 
also a big priority for individual users 
and businesses alike. If a cloud storage 




The What Why & How Of Cloud Storage 

Online storage is a smart way to maintain an offsite backup 
of your computer's data that you can access from anywhere. 
Here's a breakdown of the what, why, and how. 



How It Works 



Why It Matters 



Why It's Safe 



What Can Be Backed Up 



All you have to do is sign up for a service plan, in- 
stall the software, run through a few configuration 
screens, and your backups are set. The program 
will automatically maintain current backups of 
your data, all while running unobtrusively in 
the background. 

Having all your data backed up in the cloud 
means that if something happens to your com- 
puter (or even your physical backup, if you have 
one), you can always retrieve your data from that 
online backup. 

Carbonite encrypts your files on your computer 
with bank-level 128-bit Blowfish encryption, and 
the Internet connection through which the pro- 
gram sends backups to the cloud via SSL (Secure 
Sockets Layer) technology. On the other end, your 
data remains encrypted, so not even Carbonite 
employees can look at your files. Additionally, the 
Carbonite data center has round-the-clock security 
and has actually paid a security firm to test its 
system for weaknesses, according to the company. 



You can bac 

documents, pictures, video, folders, email, execut- 
able files, and settings. Carbonite won't back up 
operating systems or applications. 



Remote access to your files is possible through the 
Carbonite Web site or through a smartphoneapp. 



option is prohibitively expensive, how 
secure or feature-rich a service is doesn't 
matter all that much. 

Cloud backup services vary widely 
in price, and every provider offers its 
own plan levels, types of plan options, 
and associated pricing. For example, 
many cloud providers charge compa- 
nies per computer with an additional 
charge per gigabyte of storage (or per 
blocks of gigabytes of storage). 

Carbonite's pricing plans are fairly 
simple: For individual users, it's a flat 
fee for unlimited backup space. For 
businesses, Carbonite has taken the 



approach that it makes sense to charge 
only by the amount of storage space 
the entire company uses and not by 
the number of machines. Thus, your 
company pays a flat rate per month de- 
pending on how much storage space its 
computers occupy. 

Says Lamson, "We have tried to 
make the Carbonite business product 
as simple to use and as trustworthy to 
use as our consumer product, but we've 
also tried to keep in mind that backup 
does not need to be expensive." I 

bySeth Colaner 



Mac Corner 



A Slice Of Apple 



MacBook Pro Refresh, 
Featuring Thunderbolt 



by Seth Colaner 



Well, well, well, Apple refreshed the MacBook Pro line 
The new MacBook Pros come in 13-, 15-, 
and 17-inch models, which start 
at $1,199, $1,799, and $2,499, re- 
spectively, and have several new 
features. Under the hood, the pro- 
cessors on the two larger models 
are quad-core Intel Core i7s, while the 
13-incher gets a dual-core Core i5 or i7 
depending on the configuration. Graphics 
are enhanced with integrated Intel HD Graph 
ics 3000s. The built-in Web cam is now a Face- 
Time HD (high-definition) camera, which provides 
a much higher resolution than previous versions. 

Other features include a multi-touch trackpad, a bat- 
tery that purportedly lasts up to seven hours under mod- 
erate use (and up to 1,000 charge cycles), 802. lln wireless 
capabilities, SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) card 
slot (13- and 15-inch models) or ExpressCard/34 slot (17- 
inch models), and an 8X SuperDrive DVD burner. 








N^fe, 


-~= 



The new MacBook Pro family, featuring Thunderbolt. 

Image courtesy of Apple 

And, of course, the new Mac OS X Lion will bring new 
and interesting features to these notebooks. 

Those features are all well and good, but perhaps the big- 
gest new feature is a little thing called "Thunderbolt." 

Thunderbolt 

Intel has been teasing its "Light Peak" technology since 
2009, which is a new type of I/O (input/output) technol- 
ogy designed to blow USB and Fire Wire away in terms of 
speed. Light Peak has been rebranded as Thunderbolt, and 
it's available on the upcoming MacBook Pros. 

Thunderbolt is the latest high-speed data transfer proto- 
col, and it's based on PCI Express and DisplayPort technolo- 
gies. Bearing in mind that real-world speeds are a different 
story, theoretically, USB 2.0 has a maximum data transfer 



speed of 480Mbps (megabits per sec- 
ond); Fire Wire 800 is 800Mbps; USB 3.0 
is 4.8Gbps (gigabits per second); 
and Thunderbolt maxes out at 
lOGbps. That's an enormous leap 
in terms of (theoretical) speed. 
To get a sense of the scale of this 
technology, you can purportedly 
transfer a full-length HD movie in 
about half a minute, edit HD video in 
real time, and back up a year's worth of 
continuously playing MP3 audio in about 10 
minutes. Supposedly. But even if real-world speeds 
don't match the hype, they're going to be smoking fast 
compared to current I/O standards. 

Apple is not replacing those other ports on MacBook Pros, 
at least not yet — each will still have a Fire Wire 800 port and 
two USB 2.0 ports (three USB 2.0 ports on the 17-inch mod- 
el). The Thunderbolt port will replace the Mini DisplayPort — 
however, what's really convenient is that you can connect any 
Mini DisplayPort peripheral to the Thunderbolt port, as they 
share the same type of connector. Further, you can connect 
just about anything else to the Thunderbolt port using any ex- 
isting HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), VGA 
(Video Graphics Away), DVI (Digital Visual Interface), and 
DisplayPort adapters you already have; that makes the new 
technology fairly flexible. (A round of applause for the engi- 
neers — we consumers thank you.) 

Through the Thunderbolt port, you can daisy chain up to 
six devices, such as your display, external hard drives, and 
other peripherals, while maintaining adequate throughput. 
Further, Thunderbolt is a bidirectional technology, so you 
get that tasty bandwidth in both directions. 

The conspicuous absence of USB 3.0 ports on the new 
MacBook Pros may be telling regarding Apple's plans for 
the future — perhaps it's moving away from USB (and, for 
that matter, FireWire) altogether in favor of Thunderbolt. 
That seems a difficult and longitudinal proposition at best, 
though, as the world is currently teeming with peripherals 
that rely on those other data transfer technologies, but it will 
be an interesting trend to keep an eye on. 

Whatever the case, Thunderbolt is a major development 
in data transfer technology, and it will entice a lot of peo- 
ple — consumers, prosumers, and professionals alike — to 
spring for a new MacBook Pro. I 



Smart Computing / June 2011 41 



Mac Corner «| 



Fresh Fruit 



Great Business Apps For Your iPad/iPod/iPhone 

by Rod Scher 




There's no shortage of 

impressive applications — 

some of them free — for 

Apple's popular family of 

mobile devices, and many 

of them are perfect for the 

home office worker or 

entrepreneur. Here are our 

favorite business-related 

mobile apps for the month. 

(Unless otherwise indicated, 

see the Apple App Store 

to purchase these.) 



Scanner Pro 



iPod touch 



Readdle's Scanner Pro ($6.99) trans- 
forms your Apple device into a por- 
table scanner. You can scan multi-page 




documents in color, grayscale, or black 
and white, and then email or upload 
them to Dropbox (www.dropbox.com), 
MobileMe (www.me.com), or a similar 
service. (You can even upload directly to 
Evernote [www.evernote.com].) What 
sets Scanner Pro apart is its intelligent 
document processing: The app features 
automatic edge detection and also lets you 
manually crop the scanned area. Scanner 
Pro creates standard PDF (Portable Doc- 
ument Format) files, and allows you to 
password-protect them before uploading 
or emailing. You can even use a Wi-Fi net- 
work to mount Scanner Pro as a network 
drive and transfer scanned files directly to 
your Mac or Windows PC. It won't replace 
that nice flatbed scanner back at the office, 
but on the road, Scanner Pro is handy, fast, 
safe, and affordable. 



Bloomberg 



iPod touch 







Bloomberg is one of the world's most 
trusted sources of financial info, and the 
Bloomberg app (free) brings the power of 
that organization to your iPhone/touch 
or iPad — along with some very useful 
tools that can help you analyze the state 
of the world's financial markets. You get 
news, stock quotes, descriptions of com- 
panies, charts, market trend data, and 
analysis — and all for free. You can even 



42 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Mac Corner 



use the app to create a customized watch- 
list list of stocks you want to follow. To 
top it off, the Bloomberg is beautiful and 
easy to read. Free, easy-to-access, timely 
financial information from respected 
pros; hard to beat a deal like that. 



Smartsheet Project Manager 



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Issue Tracker 



Smartsheet Project Manager ($9.95 
to $149 per month; www.smartsheet 
.com) is a full-fledged, Web-powered 
project-oriented utility that can help 
you with project management, task 
management, marketing, sales, HR, 
and product management. Imagine a 
portable, Internet-based version of Mi- 
crosoft Project running on your iPad — 
only easier to use. You can list multiple 
task levels; create Gantt charts; note 
events, dependencies and milestones; 
and track time expenditures. You can 
even import MS Project or Excel files. 
The fact that the app runs on the Web 
means that it's easy to collaborate and 
report on projects. In fact, Smartsheet 
has been lauded as being robust, fea- 
ture-rich, intuitive, and easy to use. 
Find Smartsheet at its Web site, rather 
than the App Store. 



Contracts HD 

Remember the last time you were 
out on the road and came to an agree- 
ment with a vendor or customer to 
purchase or provide some good or 
service? How'd that "verbal contract" 
work out for you? Many don't work 
out well at all, but what can you do? 











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It's not always convenient to create or 
find a written contract that fits the sit- 
uation, especially when you're visiting 
clients. Contracts HD ($9.99) allows 
you to use your iPad to create, collab- 
orate on, sign, and email completed 
contracts using the iPad's touchscreen 
interface. In addition, Contracts HD 
also provides a database of contract 
templates and addenda to existing 
contracts. The app lets you auto -fill 
appropriate fields within the contract 
with your exact information. Both 
parties can sign the iPad-based con- 
tracts using their fingertips or an ap- 
propriate stylus, ensuring that specific 
details of the agreement are there for 
everyone to see. 



SketchPad HD 

Forget about cocktail napkins; that's 
so 20 lh century. The next time you have 




a brilliant idea, just jot down your 
notes and sketch it out using your iPad 
and SketchPad HD (99 cents). Sketch- 
Pad HD is a simple — but very useful — 
note-taking tool that lets you quickly 
enter text and draw color images. The 
app creates PDF documents, which 
you can then save or email. Sketch- 
Pad provides multiple "paper" back- 
grounds, including plain, color, legal 
pad, and graph paper. The newest up- 
date adds undo/redo functions, as well 
as the ability to change pen sizes. This 
is exactly the sort of app we all envi- 
sioned when we first saw the iPad — a 
simple, paperless way to make notes, 
sketch out ideas, and communicate 
with our friends and colleagues. For a 
buck, you can't go wrong. I 



Noteworthy App Of The Month 



Vlingo 

V lingo (free; $6.99 for voice-controlled 
email/texting) lets you control your iPhone, iPad, or 
iPod touch with your voice. Yep, you can now tell your 
phone what to do. Just say, "Google aardvark farming," 
and your phone activates your browser, goes to Google, 
and looks up that topic. Say, "Call Frank Wilson," and 
Vlingo checks your contact list and calls your golfing 
buddy, Frank. Use the in-app purchase function to add 
voice control for email and texting, and you can more 
safely communicate while driving. Just say, "Text Mary: 
Let's meet at the convention center at noon." Any com- 
mand that doesn't use a reserved word (such as call, text, 
or find) is assumed to be a Web search request: "What 
does Poison Ivy look like?" generates a list of Web sites 
that will help you deal with your unfortunate problem. 



iPod touch 




□□□□□□nan 




Smart Computing / June 2011 43 




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Small & Home Office Security 




46 Security Hardware | 50 Security Software | 54 Knowledge Is Power (& Protection) 



by Marty Sems 

There's no such thing as bad publicity, at least not if you're 

a pop star or a sports legend. When you're running a small 

business, of course, things are a little different. 



If someone hacks your network, 
that's exactly the kind of bad publici- 
ty your company doesn't need. An 
intruder could not only steal your 
secret business plans but also the 
personal details of your customers. 
Clients don't take kindly to sudden 
exposure to fraud and identity theft, 
and they'll say so. Not just locally 
by word of mouth but probably on 
the Internet, too. And the Web has a 
long memory. 

Obviously, your SOHO (small or 
home office) network needs pro- 
tection against cyberthreats. Your 
company Web site may be safe- 
guarded by your hosting service, in 
most cases, but the IT security on 
your company premises is still your 
responsibility. 

In the following articles, we'll 
talk about three major facets of 
network security, and why each is 
important to a comprehensive se- 
curity plan for a business with few- 
er than 10 employees. 

Software 

Software can be easier to update 
and more configurable than many 
hardware solutions, so it can help 
harden your systems against cyber- 
threats while still allowing your em- 
ployees to do their jobs. 

In a small company, you'll probably 
run antivirus, along with antispam to 
block time-wasting and potentially 



dangerous junk email. Similarly, a 
software firewall can block suspicious 
data packets while letting authorized 
ones through, a task that grows tricki- 
er with time as Web-based apps grow 
in importance. 

Many companies also use soft- 
ware for policy enforcement, such 
as to keep employees from access- 
ing certain Web sites with a high 
risk factor. And endpoint protection 
regulates the use of personal devices 
and portable storage; after all, the 
Stuxnet worm spread when people 
plugged in USB flash drives they'd 
found lying around. 

Hardware 

Like many home networks, your 
small office network is probably 
based on a router with gateway func- 
tionality, such as a built-in firewall. 
This hardware-based security sys- 
tem is important because it blocks a 
large portion of junk traffic before it 
can waste your network's bandwidth 
and become a burden to your PCs' 
security software. 

That said, you shouldn't rely sole- 
ly on your router's firewall (or fire- 
wall-like technologies) to stop every 
cyberthreat coming your way. It's 
probably too blunt an instrument to 
let employees use Microsoft Share- 
Point and Facebook, for example, 
while simultaneously protecting the 
network against threats trying to use 



these Web applications as a way in. 
Consider a gateway router your first 
line of defense rather than your only 
wall, in other words. 

Note that in some SOHO cases, it's 
worth the money to install entry-lev- 
el security appliances with the latest 
firewall and anti-malware technolo- 
gies. Appliances are dedicated sys- 
tems built to run specific software, 
such as security apps. They can do 
their jobs quickly with minimal per- 
formance impact on the network. 

Knowledge 

Here's something that's no less 
critical than the automated as- 
sets you should have in place: the 
knowledge to make good security 
decisions. And it doesn't just go for 
your company's designated IT guru 
tasked with installing patches, but 
for every employee in your business. 

Workers need regular remind- 
ers not to click dodgy-looking links, 
open unsolicited attachments, install 
unauthorized software, or visit risky 
sites such as those with adult content 
or illicit torrents. Just as a chain is 
only as strong as its weakest link, it 
only takes one employee to inadver- 
tently infect a network through a mo- 
mentary lapse of judgment. 

To that end, we'll try to help you 
make your SOHO a little more se- 
cure with the following articles. 
Safe computing! I 



Smart Comput I 45 



EED 




by Seth Colaner 



magine that you're in the office 
with your cadre of five or 10 em- 
ployees. It's a normal day running 
your small business, and you're 
enjoying your morning coffee when 
all of a sudden the SWAT team bursts 
through the door, shouting at ev- 
eryone to hit the deck and throwing 
everyone in handcuffs. They seize all 
your company computers — desktops, 
notebooks, smartphones, everything. 
The reason? Serious criminal activ- 
ity has been perpetrated using your 
company's network. 

Of course, the accusations are 
absurd — your company is engaged 
in nothing but honest business, 
and you trust your employees, 
knowing that none of them has 
done anything wrong. Yet the fact 
remains that law enforcement has 
pinpointed your company network 
as the source of shocking crimes 



performed over the Internet. So 
what gives? 

What gives is that because your 
wireless network wasn't 
secured, anyone within 
range of your router's 
signal (which extends 
a few hundred feet in 
all directions, barring 
anything that might in- 
terfere with the signal) 
could use your net- 
work unnoticed from 
a parked car across the 
street or the business 
next door. And some- 
one, finding your unsecured network, 
used it to engage in felonious activity 

If that sounds far-fetched, it isn't. 
Recent headlines show what happens 
when an interloper takes advantage of 
unsecured networks. Although you 
and your employees will be quickly 




cleared of all charges — your comput- 
ers will all come back clean, indicat- 
ing that no company equipment was 



"Users expose themselves 
to significant risk when 
a network is left open," 
says Zak Wood, director 
of global marketing for 
networking solutions 
provider TRENDnet. 



used to carry out evil deeds — your 
business will have been disrupted, 
you'll lose days of productivity and 
your services to your customers will 
be interrupted. And you will have 
learned a difficult lesson in securing 
your network. 



Small & Home Office Security 




Why You Need To 
Protect Your Network 

Our example is just one (albeit, 
a worst-case) scenario that demon- 
strates why you need to protect your 
network, whether it's your home or 
business, but there are plenty of oth- 
er reasons, as well. 

"Users expose themselves to signifi- 
cant risk when a network is left open," 
says Zak Wood, director of global 
marketing for networking solutions 
provider TRENDnet (www.trendnet 
.com). "More common, however, is 
the use of open wireless networks by 
neighbors to access all kinds of Inter- 
net sites, leaving not only the owner but 
his/her entire network and digital data 
at risk." 

Aside from the black marks you 
could get by someone using your 
network for less-than-appropriate 
purposes, you're also at risk of los- 
ing data. It doesn't take a very expe- 
rienced cybercriminal to easily gain 
access to your data through an open 
network and steal passwords, per- 
sonal information, and more. 

For an individual, that can be ca- 
lamitous — your identity could be 
stolen and your financial, email, and 
social networking accounts compro- 
mised — but it can destroy an entire 
business. Not only is the personal in- 
formation of all the employees at risk, 
so is the company's financial informa- 
tion. Further, if someone can gain ac- 
cess to your network, your company's 
intellectual property and corporate 
secrets could be exposed; thus, even if 
you can recover from a financial hit, 
the foundation that you built your 
business on could effectively be gone. 

As an aside, if you're traveling for 
business, it's also prudent to either 
avoid using public Wi-Fi networks 
(which are, by nature, open) for any- 
thing involving sensitive data or rely 
on a VPN (virtual private network) 
connection to safely connect back 
to your corporate network. A VPN 




uses encryption and authentication 
to provide a sort of secure "tunnel" 
to your home or business network 
through which you can safely work, 
even when using public Wi-Fi. 

Ensure Your Network Is Protected 

You can think of a router as a gate- 
keeper of sorts for your network. Ev- 
erything that comes in or goes out 
has to pass through the router. Thus, 
the security of your network equals 



the security of your router. Fortu- 
nately, there are some simple and 
easy ways to protect your network 
using your router. 

The simplest is the most obvious, 
although it's frequently ignored or 
overlooked by some users. "Most 
routers on the market today ship to 
customers with a default username 
and password, or Admin'. Many us- 
ers don't take the time to change 
these default settings, making it easy 



Smart C I 47 



Small & Home Office 




for novice hackers to gain access to 
your router," says Wood. 

All you have to do is log in to your 
router using the devices included in- 
structions and then set a new pass- 
word. The general rules of creating a 
strong password come into play here: 
Never, ever use something generic such 
as "admin," "password," or "123456." 
True, it can be tough to remember the 
dozens of passwords you have for your 
various accounts, but something so 



to WEP's vulnerabilities was WPA, 
but Wood advocates using the newest 
and most secure of the three, WPA2. 

Every network also has an SSID (Ser- 
vice Set Identifier), which in layman's 
terms is just the name of your network 
as it can be seen by others. You've seen 
these before — when you look at the 
available Wi-Fi hotspots on your com- 
puter or mobile device, you'll see the 
SSIDs of every network in range. Many 
devices use the manufacturer name as 




By using multiple virtual local-area networks, or VLANs, you can create 
networks for your home and business with a single router. 



simplistic, though easy to recall, is also 
easy for any hacker to guess. Your pass- 
words should always include a mix of 
upper- and lowercase letters, as well as 
numbers, at the very least. 

The second step is to set encryp- 
tion — also quite easy to do by fol- 
lowing your router's users guide. En- 
cryption makes it hard for someone 
to see your data. 

There are several types of wireless 
encryption, including WEP (Wired 
Equivalent Privacy), WPA (Wi-Fi 
Protected Access), and WPA2. WEP 
doesn't really offer much in the way of 
protection anymore; a novice hacker 
can crack WEP encryption in min- 
utes. (Still, any encryption is better 
than no encryption at all.) The answer 



the default SSID. 

It may be a good idea to set your 
SSID as something purposefully ob- 
tuse so as not to reveal that a given 
SSID belongs to your home or busi- 
ness. For example, instead of using the 
SSID "The Johnson Family" or "[com- 
pany name] ," use a string of random 
characters or a code that a nearby cy- 
berlurker wouldn't associate with you; 
this provides a measure of privacy and 
can keep someone from intentionally 
targeting your network. 

You can also configure your router 
not to broadcast your SSID, so even 
when someone is in range, if his de- 
vice has not been specifically config- 
ured to "look" for your network, he 
won't even know that it's there. It's 



tough to hack a network that's invis- 
ible, although a decent hacker can still 
find your SSID if he tries hard enough. 
Wood also suggests creating mul- 
tiple virtual networks to enhance 




MAC Address 
Filtering 

l\/l A O (M ediaAccess Control) 
I Vl/iVy address filtering is 
another way to add protection to your 
network. Every Wi-Fi-capable device 
has a Wi-Fi adapter inside, and that 
hardware has a specific number — not 
unlike a serial number. 

In your router's settings, you can 
enable MAC address filtering and 
then manually grant access to all 
the computers you want to allow on 
the network. Then, even if a device 
can "see" your network and the user 
knows the encryption key, using MAC 
address filtering prevents that device 
from accessing the network. 

In terms of administration, this can 
be a bit ungainly, as you have to manu- 
ally allow each individual device — 
computers, tablets, smartphones, and 
so on — to access the network. For ex- 
ample, if you have frequent guests or 
clients in your office, allowing them to 
access the network can be somewhat 
of a pain if you have MAC address 
filtering in place. However, if you're 
a solo operation or a small office with 
just a handful of employees, this isn't 
as complex as it would be for a larger 
entity with dozens or hundreds of em- 
ployees. It's a small amount of work for 
a big payoff: You control exactly which 
devices can use your network. 

MAC address filtering, like every 
security measure, is not a silver bullet; a 
good hacker can "spoof" a Mac address 
and still get at your network without a 
tremendous amount of trouble. Still, it's 
an added layer of security that will thwart 
many would-be cybercriminals. 




Small & Home Office Security 




security. "Creating different virtual 
networks, or VLANs, also provides sig- 
nificant added security for a SOHO en- 
vironment. If you have your family and 
small business using the same wireless 
router, you can create two distinct vir- 
tual networks," says Wood. Then, you 
can designate one network for your 
family and the other for your business. 
One thing you should not do is as- 
sume that everything's hunky dory 
just because you set things once. "As 
a networking brand, we see 
a common story, in which 
the router was functioning 
properly so the user never 
bothered to verify security" 
says Wood. "The next thing 
they know, their network 
was used by an outsider, or 
their personal information 
was tampered with." 



can access sensitive information sent 
over a network is by intercepting the 
data in those packets; this is why en- 
cryption is so important. 

However, some routers have addi- 
tional technology built-in that helps 
keep your network even more secure. 

NAT (Network Address Transla- 
tion) is a standard that allows multi- 
ple computers on a private network 
to access the Internet through a sin- 
gle IP address (through the router) 



What Lies Beneath 

It pays to know a bit more 




about network technology, 
as it will help you better un- 
derstand why you should use 
certain measures and what 
else can be done to keep your 
network secure. 

All of the information that 
is sent and received over a 
network is broken down into 
packets. For example, when 
you send an email, that mes- 
sage is divided into chunks, 
sent over a network using 
TCP/IP (Transmission Con- 
trol Protocol/Internet Proto- 
col) and recompiled on the 
other end. This method was 
developed to make send- 
ing and receiving data over networks 
more efficient. 

A packet is comprised of varying 
numbers of bytes and contains data 
concerning, for example, the destina- 
tion IP addresses and other informa- 
tion such as the length of the total 
message. One of the ways a hacker 



Always change the default password (which is usually "admin") 
to something more robust. 



but when Internet traffic comes back 
in, it has to pass through that single 
checkpoint. When it does, the router 
looks at that data to see if one of the 
computers on the network is "expect- 
ing" it. If its unsolicited traffic, the rout- 
er can just dump it, so it never enters 
the company network. NAT therefore 
functions as a sort of hardware firewall 
on your router. 

SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection) 
works along the same lines as NAT, 
but it offers true firewall 
protection. A router with 
SPI actively looks at all 
packet traffic and analyzes 
it for telling patterns. For ex- 
ample, if someone is trying 
to attack the network, SPI 
can recognize what's hap- 
pening — and mitigate the 
threat or notify the network 
administrator of the events 
so further action can be 
taken (although every SPI 
router works differently). 



An Ounce Of Prevention 




Encrypt your wireless network with WPA2 to keep it safe from outsiders 



but still enables those computers to 
utilize multiple IP addresses within 
the network. Effectively, this makes 
all the computers on your company's 
network appear to the rest of the In- 
ternet as a single machine. 

All of your network's computers can 
send messages out through the router, 



Although all the afore- 
mentioned means of se- 
curing your network are 
useful to varying degrees, 
it's important to remember 
that a determined and ex- 
perienced hacker can still 
probably find a way in. 

Many threats just come 
from casual users looking 
for a free Wi-Fi hotspot, 
from someone who wants 
to keep certain online ac- 
tivity off his own home 
network, and from Inter- 
net-based malware attacks that you 
want to keep away from your net- 
work. By following common sense 
advice and implementing some 
basic security measures, you can 
thwart the vast majority of would-be 
hackers, unwelcome network squat- 
ters, and other sundry threats. I 



Smart Compul I 49 





Kaspersky Small Office Security is 
a suite of programs that lets you 
manage the security of all your 
networked PCs from one system. 



by Nathan Lake 



w 



ith a small office or home 
office PC, security soft- 
ware is absolutely neces- 
sary, because you wont 
want anyone to have access to sensi- 
tive company data or your personal 
files. Among the list of essential secu- 
rity programs are a software firewall, 
antivirus protection, and antispyware 
software. Other helpful security ap- 
plications can include antispam de- 
tectors, password managers, browser 
pop-up blockers, and anti-keylogger 
protection. Here, we'll examine what 
each type of protection does for you 
and how they all work together to 
form a cohesive security package. 

Make Mine A Suite 

In the sections below, you'll 
learn about all the different types of 



applications you can use to protect 
your computer. And although you 
can download or buy individual ap- 
plications for each type of protec- 
tion, it's generally easier if you invest 
in a security suite that includes all 
types of protections, such as Kasper- 
sky Small Office Security ($179.95 
for five PCs for one year; $199.95 for 
five computers and one file server 
for one year; www.kaspersky.com). 
With the security suite, you'll only 
need to keep one security applica- 
tion up-to-date for all the comput- 
ers on your network, and you can be 
sure that there will be no conflicts 
among the various features of the 
suite. Thus, it's far more efficient to 
install and manage an all-in-one 
security suite than several differ- 
ent programs. (For more info about 




Small & Home Office Security 





n^TT B g r* Kaspersky Small Office Security 




jD Management Center 



%>' Scan net/iork computers 
^; Update Center 




A typical software firewall monitors both inbound and 
outbound traffic. 



Thanks to the Management Center in Kaspersky Small Office 
Security, you can run scans on multiple networked PCs. 



Kaspersky Small Office Security, see 
the sidebar in this article.) 

Software Firewalls 

The job of a software firewall is to 
monitor the Web traffic that comes in 
and goes out of your computer so that 
only specific types of data are allowed 
to reach your PC. If the data doesn't 
meet the right criteria, such as a Web 
application that tries to access an area 
of your PC where programs aren't al- 
lowed, the software firewall will block 
the data. Note that some routers also 
feature a hardware firewall, which is a 
component that monitors data com- 
ing in and going out of your network. 
A software firewall and hardware fire- 
wall can work together to protect your 
PC. However, running two software 
firewalls can cause serious conflicts 
with your PC, which can result in sys- 
tem crashes, so it's best to only run one 
software firewall. 

The types of attacks a software fire- 
wall can block include items such as 
port scanning activity (where a hacker 
looks for holes in the network), Denial 
of Service attacks (where an attacker 
sends an overwhelming series of data 
from a single or set of IP [Internet 
Protocol] addresses to bog down Web 
access), IP spoofing (where an attack 



will fake your IP address or another 
computer system to gain unauthor- 
ized access), and other suspicious ac- 
tivity where a hacker tries to bypass 
security by tricking the PC. It will also 



attempt to reject any communications 
that were not requested by your com- 
puter, such as someone outside your 
local network trying to connect to 
your computer. 




Kaspersky Small Office Security 

This program is designed specifically for offices with 10 or less PCs, and it provides 
several types of protection. Elliot Zatsky, director of consumer product management 
at Kaspersky, says, "Traditionally, small businesses have been caught in a mismatch 
where they buy a user-friendly product that didn't have all the features they need, or 
they could invest in an enterprise product that had all the functionality they wanted — 
but it wasn't really easy to use." With Kaspersky Small Office Security, you can manage 
all of your networked PCs from one computer. 

There is real-time protection to protect against evolving viruses, spyware, and other 
types of malicious attacks. "Kaspersky Small Office Security is designed to protect from 
known malware, and also helps identify brand new malware by watching the behavior 
of unknown software. If the unknown program tries to perform suspicious activities, 
Kaskpersky Small Office Security will block the software from making any potentially 
harmful changes to your computer," says Ann Biddlecom, director of product marketing 
for Kaspersky. 

The program also offers helpful business features, such as the ability to limit employee 
access to certain Web sites, applications, games, and social networking. All of the network 
data can be stored in encrypted vaults and safely transferred over email or a USB drive. To 
protect you online, Small Office Security can generate and save hard-to-guess passwords. 

"The key to Small Office Security is that it's an easy way to manage all of the 
security through the small or home office. You put it on each of the PCs in your office 
(you can also put it on a server) and then from one PC, you can manage the security of 
all the others," says Biddlecom. You can make sure scans have been run (if not, you can 
run the scan), files have been backed up, fix security issues, and update the licenses all 
from your control computer. 



Smart Compui I 51 



Small & Home Office 



A firewall isn't perfect, though, be- 
cause any traffic that appears legitimate 
can get through. For example, an email 
virus that's attached to an email will au- 
tomatically pass because the firewall is 
not capable of examining the contents 
of the email. Similarly, many viruses 
and spyware can pass through to your 
PC by embedding themselves into In- 
ternet traffic that appears to be legiti- 
mate. Those with a wireless network 
should also take note that if the hacker 
can gain access to your local network, 
the Internet data will generally be con- 
sidered as safe, so any attempts to hack 
into your PC will bypass the firewall 




PC and use it to disperse malicious 
programs to other computers. 

Within antivirus software, the appli- 
cation may use one or many types of vi- 
rus detection. The type you'll find on all 
antivirus programs is signature -based, 
which means that the application re- 
lies on a database of virus definitions 
to detect and remove malicious of- 
fenders. This method is a reliable way 
to detect known viruses, as long as the 
virus dictionary is up-to-date. Trend 
Micro's Titanium Maximum Security 
($79.95 for one year; us.trendmicro 
.com) uses cloud technology to keep 
the software always up-to-date with 



feature of an antivirus utility is the 
ability to scan content you're about to 
download, which will help to prevent 
viruses from reaching your PC to be- 
gin with. Some antivirus applications 
also feature a browser add-in that 
will scan or check a Web link or Web 
service, so you'll know it's safe before 
you visit or use the Web app. 

Antispyware 

Antispyware discovers and erases 
spyware, which is a type of malicious 
program that hides in your PC to col- 
lect information about you and your 
Web habits. Hackers can use the data 




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protection, and do not need to chschfoi a c-ecurit-. 
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Summary report: Q Last 30 days 



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Antispyware security protects you against software that hides 
on your PC in an attempt to steal your personal information. 



without an issue. For these reasons, 
you'll need to combine the software 
firewall with antivirus, antispyware, 
and antispam software. 

Antivirus 

Antivirus software is designed to 
detect, quarantine, and remove viruses 
from your computer. Besides causing 
general chaos on your system — such 
as deleting data or corrupting files — 
viruses often spread other viruses and 
spyware onto your computer. In some 
cases, the viruses will take over your 



the latest virus protection. The sec- 
ond type of detection is heuristic, 
which references a database of rules 
and patterns, such as a specific coding 
technique or key phrases in the code, 
to discover variants of known viruses. 
Some vendors call the heuristic protec- 
tion "zero day" because the antivirus 
program would be capable of detecting 
a virus that has yet to be included into 
the malware library. 

When selecting an antivirus appli- 
cation, it's wise to consider a product 
that has behavior-type virus iden- 
tification capabilities. Another key 



the spyware collects to break into your 
personal accounts, such as your email 
client, social network Web site, or on- 
line bank. The access to your personal 
information can provide hackers with 
even more data about you, which they 
can use to access your other accounts or 
even steal your identity Other spyware 
may make changes to your computer, 
such as your Web browser's home page, 
or display advertisements for products. 
Antispyware programs often con- 
sist of two components: one that ac- 
tively blocks spyware from installing 
itself and a scan capability that finds 



Small & Home Office Security 




and removes the malware. Antispy- 
ware uses a list of spyware definitions 
to identify and eradicate the malicious 
program, so (like Antivirus programs) 
it's important to keep the software up- 
to-date. Most antivirus applications 
typically include an antispyware com- 
ponent. The active scanning element 
of a spyware application is also handy 
if you want to help prevent spyware 
from appearing on your PC. 

Antispam 

Spam is part of everyone's email, but 
with antispam software, you can reduce 
the amount of spam that reaches your 
inbox. Antispam technology typically 
uses a mix of filtering methods, includ- 
ing ban lists of known spammers, 
analysis of the emails contents, and the 
ability to verify the email's sender. The 
antispam component of the security 
software is important because your PC 
can be infected by a virus or spyware 
via a spam message or attachment that 
you open. By keeping the spam from 
your inbox, your PC is less likely to be 
infected through an email that contains 
a hidden malicious program. 

An antispam program will also re- 
duce the number of phishing emails, 
which are emails that appear to be from 
an official or trustworthy sender (such 
as your bank or social networking Web 
site) that try to trick you into sending 
personal information. Common in- 
formation that phishing emails try to 
steal are usernames, passwords, and 
credit card numbers. In some cases, the 
phishing email may try to lead you to a 
malicious Web site where your PC can 
become infected with viruses and spy- 
ware that can help a hacker steal your 
personal information. 

Password Managers 

The security of your computer is 
also affected by the difficulty of your 
passwords. Many hackers use software 
to try to break into your online ac- 
counts, so dictionary words or popular 



phrases generally make for bad pass- 
words. Other unwise choices include 
passwords that involve personal infor- 
mation that a hacker or someone with 
personal knowledge of you could have 
access to. Common examples include 
number combinations of birthdays or a 
child's name. Combinations of random 
letters and numbers make the best 
passwords but are nearly impossible to 



Sti( *y Passwor 



■ssword pro 



Sticky Password 5 is a 

program that can help you avoid 

security problems due to weak passwords. 



remember, which is where a password 
manager comes in handy. 

With a password manager, such as 
Sticky Password 5 ($29.99; www.sticky 
password.com; see our review on page 
31.), you'll have one password to re- 
member — the one to unlock the pass- 
word program. "A password manager 
has two primary purposes: security 
and convenience," says Robert Pinkas, 
vice president of sales and marketing 
for Lamantine Software, which pub- 
lishes Sticky Password. "A password 
manager securely stores a person's se- 
cret passwords, login info, as well as 
other data that is used for online form 
filling. Safe storage is only half the se- 
curity story; a password manager must 



also safely populate or fill in the pass- 
words and personal data when needed 
on Web sites and applications — us- 
ing the data only where appropriate 
and never revealing the data where it 
doesn't belong," he says. 

A comprehensive password man- 
ager can also protect against phishing 
attacks by recognizing legitimate Web 
sites. For example, Sticky Password 
will not send the login and password 
details unless it identifies the Web site. 
Another benefit of a password manag- 
er is that it makes it easy to use a vastly 
different password for each Web site 
or online service you use. If you use 
the same or a similar password for 
all your Web accounts, a hacker that 
gets a hold of the username and pass- 
word (which can be accomplished by 
installing a keylogger on your PC or 
stealing the information from a Web 
service's server) would be able to eas- 
ily get into your other online accounts. 

A password manager can auto- 
matically fill in the data on a login or 
registration page without making any 
keystrokes, so a keylogger can't capture 
the information. One key feature of a 
password manager is the ability to cre- 
ate strong passwords using a random 
password generator. Another impor- 
tant feature is the ability to take the 
password manager application with 
you. Sticky Password allows you to se- 
curely store the password database di- 
rectly onto a USB key so the passwords 
are always under your control. 

Find The Right Fit 

Greg Sabey, technology commu- 
nications for Kaspersky Lab Ameri- 
cas, says that, "Too often, very small 
businesses will purchase software 
designed for much larger enterprises 
and then struggle to install and man- 
age it. This can eat up your time with 
administration headaches and slow 
your employees down, making the 
total cost of securing your business 
much higher than you bargained for." I 



Smart Computi i 53 






*8®kttSM ATTACK 



Chris Hadnagy is an unas- 
suming, geeky kind of guy. 
You'd like to have him on 
your staff: He's sharp, ar- 
ticulate, knowledgeable, has a great 
smile, and gets along with everyone. 
In fact, "gets along with everyone" 
is part of his job description. Hadnagy, 
the author of "Social Engineering: The 
Art of Human Hacking," is a social 
engineer who gets paid to break into 
corporate networks just to test their 
security. He almost always gets in, 
and odds are that, if he wanted to — 
and in spite of your firewalls, spam 
filters, and other security measures — 



| by Rod Scher | 

he could compromise your network 
without breaking a sweat. All he has 
to do is convince your staff (or you) 
to give up what you think are harm- 
less bits of information (seemingly 
inconsequential things such as which 
browser you use, when you last up- 
dated the lease on your copier, what 
email client you're using, where your 
marketing vice president buys his 
running shoes), and he can use that 
info to bring your network — or your 
entire company — to its knees. And he 
can do it almost every time. 

You might as well get used to the 
idea: Your company is easy to break 



into, and investing in fancy hard- 
ware and software, while it helps, 
isn't the complete answer, because 
that investment doesn't address the 
biggest security risk of all: your peo- 
ple. The problem is getting worse, 
partly because there's been a shift in 
the motives of those attempting to 
break in. Cyber-vandals used to be 
just kids looking for bragging rights. 
Once the motivation became finan- 
cial, all bets were off. Now the pros 
have gotten into the act, and things 
are getting serious. 

"[Cyber-vandals] went from want- 
ing notoriety to wanting money" says 



Small & Home Office Security 




"With [a widely available 

tracking utility], we are able to 

geo-locate people through their 

tweets and track their every 

move," notes Chris Hadnagy, the 

author of "Social Engineering: 

The Art of Human Hacking." 




"At times, social engineering is 
very insidious. Within moments of 
the Japanese earthquake there 
were [related] phishing attacks 
with fake links. These criminals 
are preying on the most generous 
instincts of people," says Trend 
Micro's Thomas Miller. 



Trend Micro (us.rrendmicro.com) ex- 
ecutive vice president Thomas Miller. 
"And as soon as profit became the pri- 
mary driver, malware changed com- 
pletely in two dramatic ways. The first 
major change was related to volume. In 
the first 20 years of Trend Micros his- 
tory, we saw 200,000 pieces of malware. 
Now, there's a new piece of malware 
deployed every second. The other half 
of the shift has to do with the sophisti- 
cation of the malware and the ability of 
that sophisticated malware to get past 
the defenses of the security tools in the 
marketplace." 

Breaking & Entering 101 

There are many ways to compro- 
mise your network — and thus, your 
company. You do have to worry 
about true hackers, of course: techies 
who write viruses or Trojans to trash 
your network or steal data from it, 
or who use "sniffers" or other high- 
tech tools to snoop on the contents 
of network packets as they leave (or 
arrive at) your network. These are the 
folks that firewalls, antivirus apps, 
and other such tools were designed 
to stop. And those tools counter that 
sort of threat quite well. 

But those are old-school attacks. 
Today's threat typically involves 
more guile and less technology. It 
eschews pure hacking for a social 
engineering component in which a 
staff member is tricked into reveal- 
ing information — very often, infor- 
mation thought to be harmless. 



Hadnagy recounts an example: "A 
malicious social engineer pretends 
to be a sales rep for an office equip- 
ment vendor. In a 'sales' call to a target 
company, he is able to ascertain that 
the company uses Internet Explorer 
7 and Adobe Reader 8. Armed with 
that information (and knowing of a 
security hole in that somewhat older 
version of Adobe Reader), he closes 
the call by requesting an email address 
and saying that he'll send a bid in PDF 
format for their approval. A day later 
a document called YourBid.pdf ar- 
rives. Instead of being a real PDF, it's 
a maliciously encoded document that 
gives the social engineer a reverse 
shell [a tool that allows a remote con- 
nection] on the target's computer, thus 



stops by to try to sell your company 
a less expensive cleaning service. 
What if he isn't really who he says he 
is? It would be pretty easy for him to 
walk around your office with his clip- 
board, "working up an estimate," and 
dropping a few USB thumb drives 
as he wanders about. What if he left 
a drive in a restroom, one lying in a 
hallway, and one on a desk? If you 
have, say, 10 employees, what are the 
odds that one of them would find one 
of those "lost" drives and insert it in a 
computer, just to see what was on it? 
What if you found it? 

It's almost certain that someone will 
find and insert the drive, and once he 
does, your network has been compro- 
mised: The software on that USB drive 





A "USB drop" is a social engineering attack in which someone leaves "poisoned" 
thumb drives lying about to be picked up by staff and inserted in a PC. Once 
plugged in, software on the drive compromises your network. 



allowing outside access to the com- 
puter. All because he gave out seem- 
ingly innocent information." 

By definition, social engineering 
involves this sort of trickery. Con- 
sider that smooth-talking guy with 
the realistic-looking "Acme Janitorial 
Services" ball cap and ID badge who 



can take down your network or (more 
likely) start "listening" for useful info 
and passwords, sending that data out 
to the social engineer. 

If you're thinking that most com- 
panies aren't that gullible, think again. 
At a recent hacker conference, teams 
of social engineers used nothing more 



Smart Comput I 55 



Small & Home Office 




high-tech than a telephone. They 
called companies and got them to 
give up "harmless" information that 
included things such as who handles 
their dumpster removal, their caf- 
eteria food, and their paper shredding. 



Targets Map view 


Latitude 


Longitude 


Time 


47.609721 


122 333611 


2011-0 


47.609721 


122.333611 


2011-0 


48.735082 


122 470592 


2011 


48.735082 


12 2 4705 92 


2011-0 
2011 


4E. 73 5 OS 2 


122 470592 




48.752714 


122 469411 


2011-0 


48.748054 


-122 430199 


2011-0 


47.705 74746 


122 3264122 


2011 


47 7057474635 


122 326412201 


2011-0 


47.44361756 


122 30255127 


2011 


47.4439149 


12 2 3020135 


2011-0 


40.64512192 


73.73349304 


2011 


40.64512191B4 73 733493042 


2011-0 


40.7374776 


74.0309093 


2011 



the teams' success rate was a star- 
tling 100%. 

A 201 1 ARC World Forum presen- 
tation sponsored by the University of 
Idaho and Idaho National Laborato- 
ries detailed experiments document- 



At least one 
program is 
available that 
scours Twitter 
looking for 
geo-location 
data, which it 
then maps out 
for the user. 




Companies readily told callers what an- 
tivirus applications they have installed, 
what browsers and PDF software they 
use, and more. That's exactly the sort of 
information a social engineer can use 
to penetrate your company and your 
network. It didn't matter how large or 
small the company was, or whether it 
was a high-tech software development 
firm or a low-tech janitorial service — 



ing that 40% of employees provided 
their passwords to a fake "employee" 
over the telephone. About 20% in- 
serted thumb drives they found in 
the parking lot. And phishing experi- 
ments that sent targeted emails with 
fake links to specific recipients showed 
success rates between 45% and 80%. 

Surely high-tech employees who'd 
been warned ahead of time about 




such risks would fare better, right? 
Or perhaps not: A 2007 U.S. Trea- 
sury Department study ("Employees 
Continue to Be Susceptible to Social 
Engineering Attempts That Could 
Be Used by Hackers") showed that 
60% of IRS employees fell for a so- 
cial engineering hack in which they 
were called by a "fellow employee" 
and asked to change their passwords. 
And this was after similar tests had 
been run earlier and the employees 
were warned about the ploy. 

The Dangers (& Benefits) 
Of Social Networking 

Just in case you're still not worried, 
consider the security impact of sites 
such as Facebook, Twitter, and the 
like. These "social networks" are no 
longer merely "social." In fact, they've 
become valuable communication and 
marketing tools; almost any business 
can benefit from the additional expo- 
sure and from the direct connection 
to customers and potential customers 
that they provide. 

But they also create additional se- 
curity issues to worry about. Keep in 



Secure Your Social Network 



Blogs and social networks 
provide new ways to inter- 
act with customers, employees, 
and vendors, but they can also 
introduce security issues. Gart- 
ner's Andrew Walls says, "Make 
sure that employees understand 
that certain types of information 
should not be shared in external 
social media, and consider 
investing in monitoring technol- 
ogy or services that can identify 
potential security breaches." 

To help your employees secure 
their personal information in popu- 
lar social networks, be prepared to 
help them adjust privacy settings 
for the most popular platforms. 



□ 



Twitter. Twitter offers only a few 
security controls, and most of them 
pertain to who can follow you 
and what information you want to 
include with your tweets. These can 
be checked at twitter.com/settings 
/account. Do not allow geo-location 
data to be posted (make sure the 
Tweet Location box is unchecked). 
Select the Protect My Tweets 
checkbox (unless for marketing 
purposes you need all tweets to be 
publicly available). 




Linkedln. Linkedln users can 
control public broadcasts of their 
actions and updates, the visibility 
of their inspection of other users' 
profiles, and the visibility of 
their personal information and 
connections. These controls are 
available on the Account & Set- 
tings page. To reach the Account 
& Settings page, run your cursor 
over your name (which appears 
in the upper-right corner) and 
click Settings. 



U 



Facebook. The complexity 
of Facebook's control options 
can confuse some users. To 
simplify the settings, Face- 
book offers several templates 
for privacy controls. Users 
can also customize their 
settings after selecting a 
template. Access these 
settings from the Privacy 
Settings page on the 
Account menu attinyurl 
.com/259mv6c. 



Small & Home Office Security 




mind that social engineering schemes 
always start off with the social engi- 
neer profiling the company and its 
employees, looking for information 
he can use. The burgeoning popular- 
ity of social networking sites has made 
this data collection easier than ever. 

"Social media is a social engineer's 
best friend," says Hadnagy "People 
put their lives on the Web for anyone 
to browse. In one pen-test, we were 
tasked with obtaining information 
from a business professional by any 
means, even if that meant involv- 
ing family members or friends. We 
quickly created a Facebook profile 
that matched the daughter of the 
target; within a day or two we were 
friended and chatting. Those chats re- 
vealed a lot of information that could 
have been used in a malicious attack 
to compromise the company." 

Yes, it sounds creepy, but social 
engineers can — and will — use your 
family against you. 

And speaking of that, there is at 
least one widely available program 
that scours Twitter accounts, looking 
for photos that include geo-location 
data — and these days, that's many 
photos. From the data in those im- 
ages, the program literally maps the 
poster's location. Given a few weeks' 
worth of snapshots, it knows where 
you are (and just as importantly, where 
you are not), where you've been, and 
where you spend your time. 

Think about it: A social engineer 
knows that you stop off at the Cuppa 
Joe Espresso Bar almost every 
morning on your way to work. 
If he sent you an email that pur- 
ports to be a Cuppa Joe "Favor- 
ite Customer" coupon, wouldn't 
you open it? Yeah, you would. 
You just got scammed. 

Mounting A 
Counter-Attack 

All of this talk of phishing 
and social engineering hacks 



facebook 



3 Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life. 

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Most businesses 
are finding it 
advantageous 
these days to 
maintain a social 
networking 
presence — but 
that presence 
complicates (and 
may compromise) a 
company's security. 



sounds pretty grim, but experts say 
that you're not without resources of 
your own. 

"The best approach is to rely on 
common sense," says Jim O'Gorman, 
security expert and lead developer 
for cyber-security site Social-Engineer, 
org. "When something sounds weird, 
it very likely is. If a company sends 
you a message that you were not ex- 
pecting, make contact via telephone 
(using a number that you know to be 
legitimate) and verify that the mes- 
sage really came from the company. 
Be aware of the information you are 
publishing about yourself, and what 
is common knowledge: Just because 
someone has a little bit of information 
about you does not mean that it's not 
just re-purposed public data." 

According to Andrew Walls, Gart- 
ner's research director for security 
risk, and privacy, "The issue is really 
one of encouraging appropriate user 



behavior. This requires education and 
encouragement. So step one is to make 
sure that your own company does not 
encourage the very behaviors that 
phishing and other social engineering 
attacks rely upon. For example, does 
your company send emails contain- 
ing clickable links to Web sites? If you 
do, you are encouraging your employ- 
ees and customers to click on links in 
emails. Bad idea." 

The second step involves a con- 
tinuous program aimed at educating 
your employees so that they can rec- 
ognize phishing or social engineering 
attacks. "Phishing is much easier to 
recognize than a sophisticated social 
engineering attack," notes Walls, be- 
cause "social engineering can involve 
non-technical communications (such 
as phone calls) and communications 
via social media sites that are outside 
of the control of the corporation." 




When it comes to social 
networking, Gartner research 
director Andrew Walls notes 
that managers need to 
prepare for "increased levels 
of interaction between your 
personnel and the public 
in free-form, largely 
uncontrolled environments." 



Be Prepared, Not Paralyzed 

You can't allow fear of se- 
curity risks to create an at- 
mosphere of fear, nor can 
you let it impede your busi- 
ness's ability to function. Just 
learn the dangers, train your 
staff, use common sense, and 
carry on. O'Gorman's advice: 
"Business implies a degree of 
risk — it j ust needs to be man- 
aged and understood." I 



Smart Computi I 57 




Find It Online 

Time To 
Hit The Road 



fay Blaine Flamig 



National Geographic 
Ultimate Road Trips 

www.nationalgeographic.com 

As National Geographic aptly puts it, 
"sometimes it's the journey, sometimes 
it's the destination — and sometimes, it's 
both." If you're seeking ideas for an off- 
the-beaten-path road trip overflowing 
with jaw-dropping surroundings, this 
page (on the home page highlight, Travel, 
click Trip Ideas, and on the subsequent 
page click Road Trips) has plenty on tap 
in the 50 Ultimate Road Trips section, 
which includes such routes as Alaska's 
Seward Highway, The Blues Highway in 
America's South, Kentucky's Bourbon 
Trail, Nebraska's Pioneer Trail, and the 
Vermont Cheese Trail. Conveniently, 
trips are broken down into U.S. Road 
Trips and International Road Trips. Need 
further inspiration? Check out the Photo 
Gallery, which contains the type of amaz- 
ing photos you'd expect from National 
Geographic, and the trips you can book 
with experts, such as a Tanzanian safari 
with biologist and artist David Bygott. 



Road Trip USA 

www.roadtripusa.com 

Ah, the two-lane highway. What bet- 
ter way to travel cross-country? That's the 
opinion at least of Jamie Jensen, who has 
authored multiple books "covering more 
than 35,000 miles of classic blacktop" 
along the Pacific Coast Highway, Route 
66, the Appalachian Trail, the Great River 
Road, and more. Beyond a Road Tripper 
Blog; Drive Of The Month section; pletho- 
ra of travel-related links; tourism informa- 
tion organized by state; and podcasts with 
tips, route highlights, and travel ideas, 
The Routes area presents driving tours for 
such routes as The Great Northern route 
starting in Seattle and following US-2 to 
Acadia National Park in Maine. 

Travel Channel Road Trips 

www.travelchannel.com 

For all things travel-related, including 
road trip ideas and tips, a logical start- 
ing place is the Travel Channel's Web site. 
The main thrust of the road trip section 
(click Places & Trips on the home page 



and Road Trips and National Parks on 
the subsequent page) is the individual, 
detailed experiences covering eco-adven- 
ture in Costa Rica; an "all- American high 
road" trip on U.S. Highway 34 in Colo- 
rado along the Trail Ridge Road; Rooster 
Cogburn Ostrich Ranch in Picacho, Ariz.; 
House On The Rock in Spring Green, 
Wis.; and more. There is also a wealth of 
related videos and slideshows, as well as 
Road Trip Tips that provide a lowdown 
on calculating gas mileage, traveling with 
kids, packing, and more. 

OpenRoadJourney — Motorcycles 

www.openroadjourney.com 

Whether you ride a Harley Honda, Ya- 
maha, Suzuki, cruiser, dirt bike, or scooter, 
you'll benefit from this site's resources re- 
lating to taking to the road with the wind 
in your face. The most valuable asset here 
is the numerous routes other riders have 
detailed and presented photos of. In addi- 
tion to acquiring turn-by-turn directions, 
you can share maps via email, copy them 
to your blog or Web site, and print them. 
The Bikers section is filled with individual 
user pages featuring photos, experiences, 
and more, while the Articles section is 
teeming with in-depth content on specific 
road trips. 

Road Trip America 

www.roadtripamerica.com 

If a North American road trip is in 
your future, head to this site, pronto. 



Share 

THE WARES 



Some of the best apples in the online 
orchard are the free (or free to try) 
programs available to download. Each 
month, we feature highlights from our 
pickings. This month, we delve into 
software that helps plot a baseball- 
themed road trip. 



58 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Personal Technology 



Online since 1996, the sites founders hit 
the road themselves for six solid years 
after losing their home to a fire in 1993. 
They now claim their front yard "stretches 
to the Gulf of Mexico" and their back yard 
"all the way to Prudhoe Bay' Beyond a 
Todays Route post, the site has a handy 
Fuel Cost Calculator, Featured Road Trip 
Book and Road Trip Gear sections, head- 
lines, and Road Trip Routes divided by 
region. Additionally, you can ask others 
for tips, view photo slideshows, book ho- 
tel rooms, access and share custom routes, 
create your own custom maps in the Map 
Center, and discover roadside attractions 
worth seeking out. 

BudgetTravel Road Trips 

www.budgettravel.com 

One unfortunate reality that prevents 
many people from traveling more is a 
lack of funds. This page (on the home 
page, click Trip Ideas and Road Trips) 
aims to help would-be travelers work 
around this problem by offering mon- 
ey-saving deals and tips. The Road Trips 
section contained within the site's main 
Trip Ideas category focuses on present- 
ing cost-conscious advice and experi- 
ences when it comes to executing road 
trips on the cheap. Other than slide- 
shows, the better part of the site's con- 
tent falls within the Top Stories section, 
which essentially consists of first-hand 
accounts of traveler's trips. I 



■sNewsToYou 



THAT'S 



Finding the appropriate online group to match your interests can be a monu- 
mental task. So each month, we scour the Internet to bring you the friendliest 
forums and most interesting bloggers the Web has to offer. This month, we 
focus on those blogging about road trips. 



Solo Road Trip 

soloroadtrip.com 

Freelance writer Tammie Dooley 
describes herself on her Solo Road 
Trip blog as "a traveler, writer, and 
photographer for whom the open 
road frequently summons." She also 
states that "adventurous solo road 
trips are a staple for me, and a curi- 
osity." She depicts the results of her 
curiosity via detailed blog posts aes- 
thetically fleshed out by innovative, 
absorbing, professional-level photos 
that are reason alone to visit 
the blog. 

"I've always wanted to 
call myself a writer and 
not laugh and stutter while 
saying it. So I figured a 
blog would give me rea- 
son enough to finally ap- 
ply the description with a 
straight face," says Dooley. 
But why travel alone, any- 
way? "Blog readers have 



asked me about taking a dog for a 
companion because they can't fath- 
om being totally alone. Of course, 
I couldn't care less if you want to 
take a dog. But I will tell you the 
experience will be completely dif- 
ferent. The liberation of making 
decisions on the fly, as fast as the 
brain can process, unfettered by 
the diplomatic process of asking 
what someone/something wants to 
eat, see, do, and when is something 
everyone should experience once." 



For some purists, a road trip should entail as little 
planning as possible. For those road tripping specifically to 
major and minor league baseball games within a given time- 
frame, this fly-by-night approach isn't really realistic due 
to teams' various home and away schedules. That's where 
a tool such as Baseball-RoadTrip.com's (wwwbaseball-roadtrip 
.com) Baseball Road Trip Planner comes in. Simply put, the 
site aims "to make it simple to plan a baseball road trip." 

The tool presents users with several menus and fields to 
set the trip's parameters. These include eight drop-down 
menus listed as Team 1, Team 2, Team 3, etc. Each con- 
tains all Major League teams and their Triple-A affiliates. 
The other fields let you enter the maximum days your trip 
will run and beginning and ending dates. There are also 




options to match your trip in reverse order and switch the 
order of teams based on distance between stadiums. 

To start, select your teams and the number of days off 
you'd prefer between games. To see games on consecutive 
days, leave the Days Off field at 0. Our trip included the 
Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, 
Milwaukee Brewers, and St. Louis Cardinals. After click- 
ing Plan Your Trip, we received 115 different trip options. 
The planner also listed each game's visiting team and start 
time, links to both teams' Web sites, and three options 
to buy tickets. Further, the plan detailed the distance be- 
tween cities and let us view a map of the trip's route and 
email the trip's details. 



Smart Computing / June 2011 59 



Personal Technology 



Readers'Tips 



Have you come across 
a fast, easy way to 
solve a computing 
problem? We'd love 
to hear about it! If you 
have a great tip you'd 
like to share with 
Smart Computing's 
readers, just email it 
to us at readerstips® 
smartcomputing.com. 
Please include your 
first name, last name, 
and address so that 
we can give you credit 
if we print the tip. Try 
to limit your tip to 
200 words or fewer. 
Not all tips received 
will be printed, and 
tips will be edited for 
length and clarity. 



Compiled by Nathan Lake 



Short & Simple Tips 
To Make Things Easier 



Save Ink & Time With Printer Settings 

By changing your printer's default settings 
to print out content in Draft mode and gray- 
scale, you can avoid wasting color ink and 
receive prints faster on items that don't re- 
quire perfect quality. Each printer features 
different ways to configure the economical 
modes, but on my system, I click Control 
Panel, select View Devices And Printers, and 
select the Properties Or Preferences button. 
Then, I click the Printing Shortcut tab and 
change the General Everyday quality setting 
to Fast Economical Printing. Next, I click the 
Color tab and select Print In Grayscale. I also 
change the color quality from High Quality 
to Black Ink Only. When you need to print 
in color, just change the settings back to what 
they were before. 

Lew H., Clearwater, Fla. 




Print To PDF 

There are many online transactions 
that suggest you print a record of the 
event, but in some cases, I only need 
the record for a short period of time. 
Instead of printing a paper copy for 
temporary records, I now save the 
document as a PDF (Portable Docu- 
ment Format) file and put it in a fold- 
er I have created for my PDF records. 
Compared to a pile of paper records, 
I have easier access to the transac- 
tions, and I don't waste paper. Of 
course, I can also print out the PDF 
if a paper copy is needed. Popular 
PDF creation tools are Adobe Reader, 
the Save As PDF plug-in for Microsoft 
Office, and CutePDF. 

Jerry G., Fair Oaks, Calif. 



Clutter-Free Desktop Screen 

If you want a completely clean Desktop in 
Windows 7, right-click a free area on the 
Desktop, select View, and click Show Desktop 
Icons. You can replace the icons on the Desk- 
top into the Taskbar. Right-click the Task- 
bar, select Toolbars, and place a check next 
to Desktop. Now all of your shortcuts can be 
found in the Taskbar. 

Raju K., South Riding, Va. 



Recognize Dual-Core Processors 

This tip is about checking to see if Windows is 
set to "see" both cores of a dual-core proces- 
sor on your PC. The tip appeared in a small 
blurb on page 1 1 of the February issue, and it 
was so helpful for me (the computer has ample 
memory and a dual-core processor, but it isn't 
quite living up to expectations, as I experience 
unexpected slowness and occasional freezing) 
that I'm submitting it as a tip. My PC was only 
set for one processor, and now it works twice 
as fast. Maybe there are others, like myself, 
who can now take full advantage of their com- 
puters' capabilities. 

"If you have a dual- or multicore processor 
but Windows "sees" only one core, you can 
instruct the system to boot with a certain 
number of cores. Click Start, type msconfig 
in the Search field, and press ENTER. On the 
Boot tab, select your Windows configuration 
(usually it's the only option) and click Ad- 
vanced Options. Next, click to select Number 
Of Processors and select 2 or 4, depending 
on whether you're using a dual- or multicore 
processor. Click OK and click OK again on 
the following screen." 

Carol L, Tampa, Fla. 



60 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Quick Studies 



Corel WordPerfect Office X5 

Organize Notes With Lightning 



Intermediate 
How-To 



Lightning comes with WordPerfect Office X5, 
but if you plunged right in with WordPerfect, 
Quattro Pro, or Presentations, you might be over- 
looking this handy addition. Lightning works as 
if it is your own personal digital notebook, help- 
ing you organize your notes while storing this 
information in a central location. For someone 
working on a project, Lightning is a particularly 
useful tool. 

Getting Started 

To start using Lightning, click the Start but- 
ton and click All Programs. Select the WordPer- 
fect Office X5 folder and then click WordPerfect 
Lightning. 

The first time you start Lightning, two win- 
dows will appear: the Lightning Start Panel, 
which appears in the middle of your screen and 
the Navigator window, which sits on the left side. 



Lightning Start Panel 



B ti 






The Lightning Start Panel appears when you start the 
application, providing ready access to frequently used 
functions. Once you become more comfortable with 
Lightning you might want to disable this feature. 



The Lightning Start Panel gives you easy access 
to the features that let you view documents, cre- 
ate notes, and take screen shots. It's a good idea 
to use the Start Panel for a while until you be- 
come more comfortable with Lightning's layout. 
When you're ready to stop using the Start Panel, 
simply uncheck the Show When Lightning Starts 
box at the bottom of the Start Panel. 

The Navigator window includes all the func- 
tionality of the Start Panel, plus it allows you to 
organize your documents and notes. It also lets 
you print, email, or publish your project docu- 
ments. As you grow more proficient with Light- 
ning, you'll start using the Navigator exclusively. 



Viewing Documents 

Lightning includes a document viewer. The 
viewer can open WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, and 
PDF (Portable Document Format) files. (It doesn't 
support WordPerfect Presentation or Quattro Pro 
files.) To view a document, click View A Document 
on the Start Panel or the Open Document icon in 
the Navigator window. (The Navigator's icon de- 
picts a folder with an arrow on it.) 

Once the Viewer is open, browse to any file 
you want to view. Select the file and click Open, 
or simply double-click the file to open it in the 
Lightning Viewer. The Lightning Viewer lets you 
review your documents quickly. 

Creating A Note 

No notebook would be complete without the 
ability to take notes. To create a note, click Make A 
Note on the Start Panel or click the New Note icon 
(a ringed notebook) in the Navigator window. Light- 
ning Notes allows you to create notes and bullet lists. 
It also lets you insert photos, tables, and Web links. 

When you create a note, it is automatically 
saved in your Notebook. You'll see the note in 
your Notebook in your Navigator window. 

Organizing With Navigator 

The Navigator lets you organize your notes 
and documents. Every note you make is auto- 
matically filed in your Notebook. There is only 
one Notebook, though, so you'll need to create 
separate folders for multiple projects. 

To create a folder, click the New Folder icon (a 
folder with an asterisk) in the Navigator. Rename 
the new folder by right- clicking it and selecting 
Rename from the drop-down menu. Delete un- 
wanted folders in the same way: Right-click the 
folder and select Delete from the drop-down 
menu. To organize your notes, simply drag and 
drop them into your project folders. 

Any documents that you view will appear in 
the Linked Documents folder in the Navigator 
window. From there, you can drag your docu- 
ments into the appropriate Notebook folders. 

Lightning can be a nice tool for organizing your 
projects. If you aren't using it yet, it's worth a look. I 

by Ron Keith 



Smart Computing / June 2011 61 



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Smart Computing / June 2011 63 



Quick Studies 



Intuit QuickBooks Premier 201 1 



Create Batch Invoices 



Business Finance 



Intermediate 



How-To 



If you need to send identical invoices to multiple 
people — say, you're the head of a homeowner's 
association that bills each owner the same annual 
dues — it would be tedious and time-consuming to 
create them one by one. Fortunately you don't have 
to. QuickBooks 2011 includes a new batch invoic- 
ing feature that can save you time and energy. 

Batch Invoice Preparation 

Before creating a batch invoice, you must con- 
figure three main items for each client. One, be 
sure you have set up the sales tax rate by click- 
ing Edit and Preferences (only if you charge sales 
tax, of course). Two, verify the terms are correct. 
Click the Customers tab and open the Customer 
Center. Right-click a client's name, select Edit 
Customer, click the Additional Info tab in the 
Edit Customer window, and choose the desired 
option from the Terms drop-down menu. For 
instance, if a bill is due in 30 days but you ap- 
ply a 2% discount when paid within 10 days, you 
would select 2% 10 Net 30. 

Three, you must configure the "send" prefer- 
ences. For example, if you send a client an invoice 
via email, verify the customer's email address 
and preferred send method are correct via the 
Edit Customer window's Address Info and Ad- 
ditional Info tabs, respectively. Also, go to Edit, 
click Preferences, select Send Forms, and place 
a check mark in the box Auto-check The "To Be 
E-mailed" Checkbox If Customer's Preferred 
Send Method Is E-mail. 

Create & Send Invoices 

Now it's time to get down to business. From 
the Customers menu, select Create Batch In- 
voices. The first time you do this, a dialog box 
about setting up customer info appears; check 
the Do Not Display This Message In The Future 
box and click OK. You have several options for 
choosing which customers to include in the 
batch. The simplest method is to highlight a 
name from the box on the left and click Add. 
After all the names have been added to the pane 
on the right, click Next. 

On the next screen, enter the line items for this 
invoice, such as item category, quantity, descrip- 
tion, and amount. You may also add a message at 
the bottom. When finished creating the invoice, 



■s* Edit Customer 



LbJLMJ^ 



Customs Name B* and L°* Winkelbaue-r 

Current Balance : 378.00 How do I adjust the a 



L 



Additional Info Payment Info lob Info- 



_ | Motes 



Categorizing and Defaults 
Type 






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1 


1% LO Net 30 
2% 10 Net 3Q 

Consignment 
Due en receipt 
Net 15 
Net 30 
Net 60 









Price Level Discounted 

Custom Fields 




Batch invoices do not allow you to set global terms. Before 
creating the invoices, set terms via individual customer records. 



Batch Invoice Summary 



:l 



Your invoices are created. They/Ye marked for print or enai br.ssd on each customer's 
Preferred Send Method ; - r.e the genet Method^ 



marked for print 
marked for email 



unmarked (you can send these later) 



The Batch Invoice Summary shows how many invoices in this 
batch you can email or send by postal mail. 

click Next. Review the information and click 
Create Invoices. 

The final window, Batch Invoice Summary, is 
where you generate the invoices you've just cre- 
ated. Click the Print button to print copies for 
recipients who will receive the invoices via snail 
mail, and click the Email button to send the other 
invoices electronically. When done, click Close. 

Troubleshoot Batch Invoices 

Although creating batch invoices can be a quick 
task, it isn't always error-free. If you see any in- 
voices as unmarked in the Batch Invoice Summary 
window, it means either you noted a customer as 
preferring email but didn't enter an address, or you 
chose Web mail as your Send Forms preference but 
didn't include your account information. Lastly, 
keep in mind that batch invoicing does not work if 
you have turned on the multi-currency function. I 

by Heidi V.Anderson 



64 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Personal Technology 



Ovation 



Each month, the Smart Computing staff gets to work with all kinds of new computing and 
consumer electronics products. Here are some of the most exciting products to cross our desks. 



Compiled by Joshua Culick 



Swimsense 

$199.99 | FINIS Inc. | (925)454-0111 | 

Runners have no shortage of devices 
(and smartphone apps) to help them 
track the details of their runs. I see few 
swimmers wearing such performance 
monitors, but if FINIS has its way, that 
may change. Its new Swimsense device 
measures several metrics, including 
distance, stroke count and rate, and 
type of stroke. It also tracks your burned 
calories. And thanks to some built-in 
memory, the watch-like Swimsense 
stores all this data (up to 1 4 workouts 
at once) so you can review it later. 

What caught my attention about 
the Swimsense is that it connects to 
your computer (via USB) so you can 
store your workouts on your PC. FINIS 
provides software that pulls the data 



www.finisinc.com 

from the Swim- 
sense, as well as a 
freeonlineTraining 
Log that stores your 
activities and provides 
several ways to view the 
workout information. You 
can configure theTraining Log 
to automatically send the data 
to yourTrainingPeaks (home 
.trainingpeaks.com) account. (Training- 
Peaks helps you track and analyze your 
exercises and nutrition, among other 
components of an active lifestyle.) 
Integration with other fitness-tracking 
services is in the works. 

Using the Swimsense is a piece of cake. 
I strapped it to my wrist, pressed a 




button to start monitoring, and started 
swimming. I hardly noticed the device 
as I swam: It sat tight against my wrist 
and didn't bounce or slide. Once I con- 
nected it to the included USB dock, I 
had no trouble accessing my workouts. 
The Swimsense is a handy, polished 
tool for swimmers who want to analyze 
and store their performance histories. 




tuneband 

$18.99 | Grantwood Technology LLC 



www.tuneband.com 



A smartphone can be a handy (and entertaining) tool when you're exercising, but 
not if it's bouncing around in your pocket. To keep smartphones out 
of your pockets (and your hands), many case manufacturers offer 
sport cases that include armbands. Enter Grantwood Technology, 
which developed an excellent case for sports-minded smartphone 
owners. The silicone tuneband case fits snugly around the smart- 
phone (I tested it with an iPhone 4) without blocking access to 
ports or buttons. Sliding the iPhone into the case wasn't difficult, 
nor was removing it. I had no trouble with the armband, either. Put- 
ting it on took seconds. Sliding and bouncing weren't an issue. I like 
that the tuneband also includes a screen cover and a back cover. 

Grantwood Technology offers the tuneband in black, pink, purple, and red. 
Other versions of the tuneband are available for iPods and other devices. If you 
have an earlier generation iPhone, such as the 3GS, be sure to buy the tuneband 
version made for your phone. The tuneband for iPhone 4 fits the phone too 
snugly to accommodate other iPhones. 



Smart Computing / June 2011 65 



Tech Support 



What To Do When 

Your PC Is Slow 




Years ago, car engines used to lose 
power now and again. They'd 
go out of time, or their ignition 
points would need maintenance, and 
so performance would suffer. 

Today, better designs and more re- 
liable components keep our engines 
humming. Computer control over fuel, 
air, and spark helps, too. 

Ironically, the computers we use for 
work and play occasionally get slug- 
gish, too. Sudden slowdowns usually 
indicate a frozen process or software 
problem. More common is a gradual 
slide into lethargy; this you can blame 
on your hard drive. 

Maintenance 

As you use your computer, the OS and 
apps save data here and there on the hard 
drive. If there's no free space big enough 
to store a larger file, the drive saves parts 
of the file wherever there's room. This 
fragmentation slows down read and write 
processes, and the effect is cumulative. 

Drives also become slower to save 
and supply data as they fill up, so the 



Disk 



- Disk Cleanup for OSDisk ;C;> 



Disk Cleanup | More Optional 

■ Yon can use Disk Cleanup lo free up to 1 .27 GB of disk spac 

OSDisk (C:). 



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Ho-- ; doe-: Disk Cleanup work? 



Hard drives and SSDs perform best when they 
have plenty of unused space. Using Disk Cleanup, 
we were able to free up nearly 1 .3GB. 

first step to restoring their pep is to 
get rid of unnecessary data. This in- 
cludes applications you don't use, so 
launch the Programs And Features 
window to get rid of them. In Win- 
dows 7, click Start, Control Panel, 
and Uninstall A Program. 



Next, use Windows' Disk Cleanup 
feature to delete temp files, Recycle 
Bin remnants, and other virtual trash. 
Press WIN-E (the Windows logo key 
and E key) to launch Windows Ex- 
plorer. Right-click your C: drive, se- 
lect Properties, click Disk Cleanup, 
and follow the directions. (If the View 
Basic Information About Your Com- 
puter window appears instead of the 
C: Properties panel, close it and right- 
click a different part of the C: drive 
icon or label.) If your hard drive has 
other drive letters, such as D: or E:, re- 
peat this process with them. 

Finally, use defragmentation soft- 
ware to reunite all the split files 
on your hard drive. Win7 runs its 
Disk Defragmenter by default every 
Wednesday morning at 1 a.m., as- 
suming your PC is turned on then. 
To change this time or run a defrag 
manually, click Start, type defrag 
in the Search Programs And Files 
field, and click Disk Defragmenter. 
Note that several third-party defrag 
utilities can recover even more drive 



66 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



e^I Disk Defragrnenter 



■ ■y. 



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p~ system performance. Tell me m or-? -ji.v ^.ia" 1 !.'! LVii ^ :im enter 



Scheduled defragmentation is turned on 

Run at 1:00 AM every Wednesday 
Next scheduled run: 3/30/2011 1:51AM 



> Configure schedule... 



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last Run 






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Only disks that can be defragmented are shown. 
* To best determine if your disks need defragmenting right now, yon need to first analyze your disks 



V Stop operatic' 



Most gradual PC slowdowns 
are related to the hard 
drive. Use Windows' Disk 
Defragrnenter or a 
third-party utility to keep 
yourdriveinthepink. 



speed by running constantly, but un- 
obtrusively, in the background. 

SSD. Because SSDs (solid-state drives) 
read and write files at the same speeds 
whether fragmented or not, you don't 
need to defrag them. In fact, you shouldn't 
defrag SSDs at all because it only acceler- 
ates wear on their memory cells. 

That said, SSDs can slow down 
over time due to a delay in the way 
flash memory writes files to memo- 
ry cells with deleted data that's still 
physically present. Win7 automati- 
cally runs a command called TRIM 
during idle periods to fix this issue 
on SSDs that support it. 

However, if you're running an older 
OS, an SSD without TRIM support, 
and/or an SSD RAID (redundant ar- 
ray of independent disks), check the 
SSD manufacturer's site for a perfor- 
mance recovery utility commonly 
called "garbage collection." Some ven- 
dors also provide firmware updates 
with speed increases. Installing new 
firmware is very risky, however, so 
back up your data beforehand. Follow 
the directions exactly, and be aware 
that you may have to reinstall your 
OS, apps, and data afterward. 

Windows Tweaks 

As we mentioned, you should suspect 
a software problem if your system sud- 
denly slows down. Sometimes there's an 



obvious reason, such as your antivirus 
software starting a scan. Other culprits 
include opening a multi-gigabyte folder 
with thousands of media files, launching 
a group of tabbed browser bookmarks, 
and running enough programs to max 
out your RAM. 

And then there's the odd program 
that won't open or close correctly. Press 
CTRL-SHIFT-ESC to launch Task Man- 
ager. Select the application (it may be 
marked Not Responding) and then click 
End Task and Yes. 

The Processes tab can reveal a pro- 
cess that's sucking up resources, as it will 



M Windows Task Manager 



IH^KMI 



Eile Options View Help 



Applicatigris] Processes Services Performance Netw orking | Users | 



Image Name 


User Name 


CPU 


Memory ., 


Description 


' 


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SYSTEM 


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5iTicGLii.exe 


marty-se,., 


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svc hos teste 


LOCALS... 


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Host Proces... 




WINWORD.EXE 


marty-se... 


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24,080 K 


Microsoft ... 




chrome, exe 


martrse... 


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86,464 K 


Google Chr... 




chrome, exe 


marty-se... 


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22,256 K 


Google Chr... 




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Processes: 70 



Physical Memory: 47% 



In Task Manager's Processes tab, click the CPU 
or Memory categories to sort them so that the 
processes using the most resources rise to the top. 



have high numbers in the CPU and/or 
Memory columns. Select it and click End 
Process twice. This step often helps shut 
down an app that doesn't respond to End 
Task under the Applications tab. 

If all else fails, rebooting your com- 
puter may help. If the normal Restart 
method doesn't work, press CTRL- 
ALT-DELETE and then click the red 
icon arrow at the lower right. 

Malware can cause a major slow- 
down, especially if it makes your PC 
send out spam or participate in online 
attacks such as DDoS (distributed de- 
nial of service). Update your antivirus 
and run a scan. 

There are also some more long-term 
tweaks you can do to keep your system 
buff. One is to disable any unwanted 
programs that start up with Windows. 
Click Start, type msconfig in the search 
field, and click Msconfig.exe in the re- 
sults. Under the Startup tab, uncheck 
any apps you don't want. Process- 
Library.com can help you identify un- 
familiar items in the Command list, 
such as Ctxfihlp.exe (you may have to 
widen the column to find the program 
name at the end of each file path). Be 
sure not to disable any update utilities 
for common apps such as PDF (Por- 
table Document Format) readers, as 
these often download security patches. 
When you're finished, click Apply, OK, 
and Restart. After a reboot, if you see 
a Security Configuration message win- 
dow, click the Do Not Use option. 

Some users also report gaining 
some speed from using Windows' 
ReadyBoost feature, which employs 
removable flash media to tempo- 
rarily store files that your system is 
using in an effort to increase perfor- 
mance. Plug in a fast USB flash drive 
and then right-click it in Windows 
Explorer and choose the ReadyBoost 
tab. Windows will tell you if the drive 
isn't suitable. 

Upgrades 

Some PC slowdowns respond best to 
very specific upgrades. For example, if 
your computer only feels slow during 
gaming or video editing, you probably 



Smart Computing / June 2011 67 



Tech Support 



need a more powerful graphics card. 
As for more general sluggishness, here 
are a few hardware upgrades that can 
cure a number of ills. 

RAM. Memory is odd in that hav- 
ing more isn't always better. At the 
same time, if your PC doesn't have 
enough RAM, it'll slow to a crawl 
whenever you run demanding ap- 
plications. It will also work the hard 
drive a lot more because Windows' 
virtual memory is nothing more than 
drive space (called a swap file or pag- 
ing file) tasked with doing the job of 
the much faster RAM. 

A recent OS such as Win7 can get 
by fairly well on 2GB or more memo- 
ry. That said, having 3GB or more can 
make a noticeable difference, as Win7 
likes to cache lots of data in RAM to 
avoid time-consuming disk accesses. 
(Note that you'll need 64-bit Win7 or 
Windows Vista to make use of 3.3GB 
or more of RAM.) 

Fortunately, adding memory to 
your computer can be easy. It might 
also be inexpensive if your PC is 
new enough to use DDR3 (double- 
data rate 3). Manufacturers such as 
Kingston Technology (www.kingston 
.com) sell quality RAM in a variety of 
speeds and capacities. (For more in- 
formation on purchasing RAM, refer 
to "A RAM Primer" on page 17 of the 
February 2011 issue.) 

OS. One of Win7's advantages 
over Vista is its performance. It not 
only boots and runs faster than its 
predecessor, but it also feels faster 
due to tweaks to the UI (user inter- 
face). It's one of several good reasons 
to upgrade from Vista to Win7. And 



Where's The Bottleneck? 

Is your PC stuck in neutral, or is it spin- 
ning its wheels? Windows 7 lets you peek 
under the hood with a few utilities. Besides 
Task Manager, Win7 offers Resource Moni- 
tor. Click Start, type resource, and click the 
Resource Monitor link. 

We also use third-party Desktop gadgets 
such as All CPU Meter and Drives Monitor. 
Right-click the Desktop, click Gadgets, and select 
Get More Gadgets Online. Scroll down and click 
Get More Desktop Gadgets. Next, type All CPU 
Meter or Drives Monitor in the search field, 
and then click Gallery. Click its Download link, 
Install, Open, and Install again. 



p ill iii -M 



Desktop Gadgets 
such as Drives 
Monitor and All CPU 
Meter can show 
you when your hard 
drive, RAM, or CPU is 



n heavy use. mats 
i good clue as to the 
cause of a sudden 
slowdown. 



even though the 10-year-old WinXP 
can outpace Win7 at several tasks on 
old hardware, we still recommend 
Win7 for its security and support of 
new technologies. 

Storage. It's true — today's CPUs are so 
fast that they largely sit unused while 
waiting for data to arrive. For the vast 
majority of computing tasks, the bot- 
tleneck lies in the slower devices, such 
as the hard drive. 

Upgrading to a faster hard drive 
can shorten bootup and application 
launch times. You'll probably gain 
some capacity, too. (You might need 
to install an adapter and/or run some 
special software if you buy a drive la- 
beled Advanced Format.) 

That said, a fast SSD can provide 
a more radical boost in performance. 
Because they're more expensive per 
GB than hard drives, many users with 
enough drive bays install a modest SSD 
for their OS and apps but retain their 













[General | Boot | Services Startup 


^5q 
















Startup Item 


Manufacturer 




Command 


Locafion 


□ GoogleToolbarNotifier 

□ LightSoibe 

[7] Microsoft® Windows® Operati, 
E] avasti Antivirus 

□ CTVfiHlp 


Google Inc. 

-r 5 : :-■?■:** : ;■:■'■ ;■■;■" 

Microsoft Corporation 

AVAST Software 

Unknown 


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HKCU^OFTWARE\ 
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□ Creative Updreg 


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ill 




















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Disable all 
















| OK 




Cancel | Apply Help 



Apps add items to Windows' startup list. 
You can prune away gratuitous processes 
with Msconfig.exe. 



old hard drives for storage of person- 
al files. 

A third option is a hybrid drive. 
This is a slightly pricier hard drive 
with a small SSD onboard. As the 
SSD caches the data you access the 
most from the hard disks, the result 
is a moderate speedup in many tasks. 
And because hybrid drives currently 
come in capacities up to 500GB, you 
don't have to give up on reasonable 
storage space to get many of the ben- 
efits of an SSD. 

Processor. To be honest, unless 
you're running a single-core CPU 
and/or a very old system, a new pro- 
cessor probably shouldn't be your 
first choice for speeding up your 
PC. Chances are that another com- 
ponent is more to blame for a slow 
system. Also, a new CPU may force 
you to buy a new motherboard, and 
possibly new RAM, a new graphics 
card, and even a power supply. 

That said, moving from a single- 
core chip to a dual-core or better will 
pay dividends. Multicore processors 
don't get maxed out very often by typi- 
cal workloads, so you'll rarely have to 
wait while your CPU is "thinking." 
Likewise, a faster CPU can accelerate 
media file transcoding from one for- 
mat to another, as well as compression 
and encryption tasks. I 

by Marty Sems 



68 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Quick Studies 



OpenOffice.org 3 

Create A Timesheet 



Intermediate 
How-To 



Small business owners wear many hats. Not 
only must you deliver a product or service to 
your customers, but you also coordinate the orga- 
nization's internal aspects. You need to hire, train, 
manage, and pay your employees. Using Open- 
Office.org, you can create a basic timesheet to 
help employees record the hours they've worked. 

Open OpenOffice.org and select Spreadsheet. 
This forms the base of the employee timesheet. 
When completed, it will include space for the 
employee's name, the pay date, the pay period be- 
ginning and ending dates, space to insert hours 
worked, and a signature line. Also, it will auto- 
matically add the hours worked. 

First, change the page format from portrait to 
landscape. On the top toolbar, click Format and 
Page. Under Orientation, click Landscape and 
click OK. 

Begin by establishing basic fields and creat- 
ing the space for the employee name. Click cell 
Al. Increase the cell's height by clicking Format, 
Row, Height, and inserting .50 in the box. Click 
OK. To increase the width, click cell Al. Click 
and drag the blue highlighted area through cell 
D. Click Format and Merge Cells. In cell Al, type 
Printed Name: and then highlight the text and 
click the B on the toolbar to make this text bold. 



I C | D 



I C I H 



Printed Name: 



Pay Period Beginning: Monday June 6 20011 



Pay Day: June 21. 2011 
Pay Period Ending: Sunday- June 19. 2011 



This sample timesheet, created with OpenOffice.org, shows 
some of the permanent fields that might be included. 



To build the line beneath the name, click cell 
Al and then Format and Cells. The Format Cells 
dialog box appears; select the Borders tab. In the 
Line Arrangement section, click the bottommost 
section of the graphic displayed in the User- 
Defined box. This indicates the border's loca- 
tion — the bottom of the cell. In the Line section, 
choose the desired line thickness; 2.5 works. 
Click OK. Using these same directions, you can 
format the other timesheet categories: Pay Day 
(cells Fl to HI), Pay Period Beginning (cells A2 
to D2), and Pay Period Ending (cells E2 to H2). 



Next, make the grid where the employee enters 
hours worked. In cell A4, type the heading Date. 
In cell B4, type Hours Worked. Click cell A5 and 
drag the cursor down, encompassing as many 
cells as there are days in a pay period. Let's use 
14 days for this example and highlight through 
A18. Change the cell height to 0.25 inches using 
the previous directions. To change the width to 2 
inches, select Format, Column, Width, and enter 
2.0. Perform the same function in column B to 
make it the desired width. 

Highlight cells A5 through A18. Click Format 
and Cells to open the Format Cells dialog box. 
Choose the Numbers tab. In the category box, 
choose Date and in the Format box, select the 
date format you wish to use. Click OK. 

In cell A5, enter the beginning date of the pay 
period. In cell A6, type the following formula: 
=A5+1. Press ENTER. This automatically enters 
the next calendar date. You can now sequentially 
fill the remaining dates. To do this, click cell A6. 
Hover the cursor near the bottom-right corner 
of the cell until a plus sign (+) appears; click and 
drag it until all of the cells are filled with the cor- 
rect number of days in your pay period. The data 
can be centered, right-aligned, or left-aligned. In 
the cell directly beneath the last date (A19), type 
the word Total in bold. 

To format the Hours Worked column, click 
cell B5 and drag the blue highlight down through 
the last date. Select Format and Cells. In the dia- 
log box, select All in the Category column and 
choose a format. (The -1234.12 format works 
well.) Click OK. 

Direct the spreadsheet to automatically add 
the employee's hours by clicking cell B19. On 
the toolbar, select the sum symbol. Highlight 
the cells you wish to add. In this case, select B5 
through B18. Press ENTER. 

Add a signature line in cell A21 by following 
the cell formatting directions for increasing the 
cell width and height and adding a border using 
the directions previously described. You've now 
created a basic timesheet that automatically adds 
the hours the employee has entered. When the 
pay period ends, an employee can print it, sign it, 
and turn it in for payment. I 

by Kim Quade 



Smart Computing / June 2011 69 



Tech Support 



HowToSetUp 

A Projector 





Epson's EX7200 offers great resolution 

and useful light output in an affordable package 



Nothing says small potatoes like 
making clients or colleagues hud- 
dle around a tiny laptop screen to 
hear your latest pitch or presentation. If 
you really want to make an impression, 
give your big ideas the big screen they 
deserve by investing in a projector. Like 
most electronics, projectors continue 
to fall in price even as their features 
and specifications improve, and to- 
day there are options for any situation 
or budget. 

For this article, we looked at two pro- 
jectors from Epson (www.epson.com), the 
EX7200 Multimedia Projector ($749.99) 
and the PowerLite 1775W Multimedia 
Projector ($1,199). Both should meet the 
needs of most SOHO (small office/home 
office) users without forcing them to pay 
for useless extras. Here's a look at the vari- 
ous features of these projectors, along with 
a guide for setting up practically any pro- 
jector in conjunction with a Windows 7 
notebook or PC. 



Size & Weight 

SOHO users likely want a projector 
they can take on the road if necessary, 
so portability and weight are major fac- 
tors. The EX7200 is easily toted, weighing 
5.1 pounds and measuring 3.1 x 11.6 x 9 
inches (HxWxD). The PowerLite 1775W 
weighs 3.8 pounds and measures 2.1 x 
11.5 x 8.3 inches. Saving a few pounds 
and a few inches in your computer 
bag is likely worth it for frequent busi- 
ness travelers. 

Resolution 

Resolution measures how many 
horizontal and vertical pixels (picture 
elements, or dots of color) a display 
has. Both the EX7200 and PowerLite 
1775W have a resolution of 1,280 x 
800, which is fine for most business 
use. If you plan to use the projector 
to display finely detailed images or 
extremely small text (such as detailed 



Excel spreadsheets), higher resolutions 
such as 1,400 x 1,050, 1,600 x 1,200, 
or 1,920 x 1,080 keep things sharp. 
Only consider lower resolutions such 
as 1,024 x 768 or 800 x 600 if you plan 
to show basic presentations containing 
large text and other big elements. 

Brightness & Contrast 

Projector light output is measured in 
lumens, and the more ambient light in 
a room the more lumens are needed to 
overcome it. Most business users can get 
by with projectors in the 2000 to 3000 
lumen range, which are great for small 
conference rooms or bigger rooms that 
are darkened. If you plan to use it in big- 
ger rooms or rooms with more ambi- 
ent light (so people can take notes, for 
example) you'll need more lumens. The 
EX7200 outputs 2600 lumens, and the 
PowerLite 1775W pumps out 3000 lu- 
mens, so both are excellent choices for 
SOHO users. 



70 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 






EPSON 



The Epson PowerLite 
177SW is light, relatively 
compact, and can connect 
to a PC wirelessly. 



Don't confuse lumens with the pro- 
jectors contrast ratio, which measures 
how deep black gets relative to white. If 
you plan to use the projector in a lot of lit 
rooms, go for lumens over contrast ratio. 
If you plan to use it mainly in dark rooms, 
go for a good contrast ratio over lumens. 
The EX7200 and PowerLite 1775W both 
have good contrast ratios up to 2000:1. 

Connectivity 

Eventually, you need to connect a 
projector to something that outputs a 
video and audio signal, so be sure to 
have cables on hand for all the types of 
connections your projector supports. 
These vary but are divided into two 
major categories of analog and digital. 

If you have to use analog, avoid Com- 
posite (also called RCA) and S- Video 
and go with the much higher qual- 
ity afforded by VGA (Video Graphics 



Array, sometimes called D-sub 15-pin) 
or Component. Better yet, keep the sig- 
nal as pristine as possible by using a 
digital connection such as DVI (Digital 
Visual Interface), HDMI (High-Defini- 
tion Multimedia Interface), or USB. All 
three have exceptionally high video qual- 
ity but HDMI carries both digital audio 
and digital video on a single cable, and 
USB does all that, plus allows for data 
transfers and easier setup. 

The EX7200 supports Composite, 
S-Video, VGA, HDMI, and USB. The 
PowerLite 1775W supports Composite, 
VGA, HDMI, and USB. So, with one 
of these projectors, you'd want to use 
HDMI or USB when possible for best 
image quality. The PowerLite 1775W 
also comes with a Quick Connect Wire- 
less USB key that adds an interesting and 
convenient wireless video connection. 
You plug the key into the projector's USB 



slot and then remove it and plug it into a 
USB slot on a computer. It then wirelessly 
transmits video to the projector, elimi- 
nating the need for cables and letting you 
travel even lighter. 

Lens Features 

All projectors have focus controls, 
and good ones (including the EX7200 
and PowerLite 1775W) also have 
zoom and keystone correction to in- 
crease placement flexibility. Zoom 
controls let you adjust the size of 
the image, while keystone correction 
lets you adjust the corners when the 
projector has to point up or down to 
reach the screen and the image tilts 
outward or inward. 

USB Thumb Drive 

The EX7200 and PowerLite 1775W 
have USB slots that let you connect a 




When the projector 
lens is at an angle relative 

to the screen, the 

projected images display 

with their corners out of 

alignment. Keystone 

correction fixes this. 




Smart Computing / June 2011 71 



Tech Support 



USB thumb drive and run your slide- 
show directly from it instead of from a 
computer. This allows for terrific por- 
tability and easy setup at the expense of 
not being able to directly edit or anno- 
tate your slideshow. 

If your projector has this feature, 
check the manual to see what file for- 
mats the projector reads. For the Epson 
projectors, the slideshow must be saved 
to the thumb drive as a series of JPEG 
(Joint Photographic Experts Group) 
images. To do this, insert the thumb 
drive in the computer's USB port, open 
your presentation in PowerPoint, click 
File, click Save As, and navigate to the 
thumb drive. Open the Save As Type 
menu, click the file format your projec- 
tor requires, and click Save. Before re- 
moving the thumb drive to test it out in 
the projector, click Start, click Devices 
And Printers, right-click the thumb 
drive, and click Eject. Now it is safe to 
remove it. 

Step-By-Step Setup 

Let's take what we know and set up 
a projector. This article assumes you 
use a computer with Win7. These are 
general instructions, and be aware that 
some of the tips here may not apply to 
your particular hardware. 

Step 1 : Place The Projector 

The first big question is how far away 
from the screen the projector should 
be. You determine this using a throw 
ratio that tells you how wide the pro- 
jected image is when the projector is a 
certain distance from the screen. 

Often, a range of throw ratios is 
provided to account for a zoom lens, 
but start with the lowest number 
when calculating distance. For ex- 
ample, the EX7200 has a throw ratio 
for widescreen images of 1.30 to 1.56, 
so use 1.30. This tells us it projects a 
1.3-inch image for every 1 inch away 
from the screen it is (or 1.3-foot im- 
age per foot away; you can insert 
any unit of measurement you prefer 
since this is a ratio). If the screen is 
100 inches wide, we multiply that by 
1.3 and see that the projector must be 



Buying Tips 



se this cheat sheet when buying 
. a business projector to avoid 
concentrating on and paying for 
features you'll never use. 

• A projector that fits in a 
computer bag and weighs 5 
pounds or less is ideal for use 
on the road. 

• Focus on lumens (brightness) 
if you often present in large or 
bright rooms. 

• Focus on contrast ratio if 
you often present in small or 
dark rooms. 

• Make sure any projector you 
buy has zoom and keystone 
correction controls. 

• Digital connections are 
important, so look for DVI, 
HDMI, and/or USB inputs. 



130 inches (10 feet, 10 inches) away, 
minimum, to fill the screen. Simi- 
larly, the minimum throw ratio of the 
PowerLite 1775W is 1.35, so to fill the 
same 100-inch screen, it must be 135 
inches (11 feet, 3 inches) away. 

Always make sure the projector is 
placed on a flat surface and has good 
ventilation. Putting it in an enclosed 
space or on something that covers its 
exhaust ports is a surefire way to cause 
it to overheat, possibly ruining the bulb 
or even the projector itself. 

Step 2: Connect The Projector To The PC 

If you are not using a USB connection, 
make sure both the PC and projector are 
turned off. Connect them using a digital 
connection (such as DVI or HDMI), only 
opting for an analog connection (such as 
VGA) as a last resort. Also, connect any 
audio cables if necessary. 

Step 3: Power Up 

Turn on both the projector and PC. 
Wait for the PC to fully bootbefore con- 
tinuing. (Now is the time to connect 



the PC and projector if they use a USB 
connection.) 

Step 4: Output Video 

If you used a USB connection in the 
previous step, the projector should auto- 
matically display whatever is on the PC's 
screen. If not, click Start, type projector 
in the Search box, and click Connect 
To A Projector. Four options appear, so 
click Duplicate if you want to display 
the presentation on both the projector 
screen and the PC or Projector Only if 
you don't want to display it on the PC. 



M -• 



Windows 7 makes it easy to select video output 
to a projector. 

Step 5: Make Adjustments 

Use the zoom control to adjust the 
size of the projected image if necessary, 
and use the focus controls to make it as 
sharp as possible. If the projector has 
automatic keystone correction, enable 
it if needed or make the adjustments 
manually until all four corners of the 
image are at 90-degree angles. 

Step 6: Disconnect 

When you are finished with your 
presentation, if you previously selected 
Projector Only, use the instructions in 
Step 4 to access the Connect To A Pro- 
jector options and click Computer Only. 
Now you can shut everything down and 
disconnect the projector from the PC. 

When turning off a projector, be 
sure to use the Power button and 
don't simply unplug it. Some projec- 
tor lamps get warm during operation 
and must be cooled by a fan (though, 
not the ones we covered in this arti- 
cle) even after the unit is shut down, 
and unplugging the device prevents 
the fan from doing that. Ignoring this 
could dramatically reduce the life- 
span of the bulb and may even dam- 
age the projector. I 

by Tracy Baker 



72 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



SOFTWARE UPDATES 



When it comes to protecting your software, installing the latest updates is one of the most 

important steps you can take. Software updates fix bugs, plug security holes, and sometimes 

even add new features. Here are the updates you should know about this month. 

Compiled by Joanna Clay 



Apple Boot Camp 

UPDATE: The Boot Camp 3.2 update 
makes changes to early 201 1 models of 
the MacBook Pro. When you download 
the update, it should correct shutdown 
issues and address any bugs associated 
with Japanese and Korean keyboards. 
INSTALLATION: To install this update, 
direct your browser to www.apple.com. 
Next, click Support in the navigation bar. 
Under Browse Support, locate the drop- 
down box. Click the down arrow next to 
All Products and select Boot Camp from 
the list. Find the Downloads link under 
the Boot Camp dual hard drive icon and 
click it. Look for Boot Camp 3.2 Update 
For MacBook Pro (Early 20 1 1) and click 
Download. Wait for the download to 
complete and then open the file to begin 
installing the update. 

Picasa 3.8 

UPDATE: Google has announced three 
new changes in 201 1 for version 3.8 of 
Picasa. Fix 1 17.38 corrects the camera 
importing problem associated with 
Windows 7. When you open files on a 
networked drive, Picasa Photo Viewer 
now operates normally. This update also 
fixes groups in My Contacts and doesn't 
take up as much memory. Fix 117.41 
corrects the facial recognition crash. The 
most recent fix, 1 17.43, resolves problems 
associated with importing images from 
scanners. Additionally, it addresses INI 
file duplication for Backup And Restore. 
INSTALLATION: To get the latest 
version for Picasa 3.8, type picasa 
.google.com in your browser. Find the 
Download Picasa 3.8 button and click it. 
The EXE (executable) file will download; 



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The Skype 5.3 update 
fixes issues related 
to video sending, 
Outlook contacts, the 
call quality indicator, 
contact list, and more. 



click Run to open the file. Follow the on- 
screen instructions to install Picasa. 



Mac OS X 

UPDATE: Recommended for early 201 1 
MacBook Pro notebooks, the Mac OS 
X 10.6.7 update takes care of operating 
system issues related to stability, compat- 
ibility, security, and overall performance. 
The latest download upgrades Back To 
My Mac and stability for graphics and ex- 
ternal display compatibility. The previous 
version of the operating system was mar- 
ginally plagued by Mac App Store bugs 
and FaceTime performance inconsisten- 
cies, but the update also corrects these. 
Additionally, it deals with a file transfer 
issue related to some SMB servers. 
INSTALLATION: If you would like to 
get this update, go to www.apple.com. 
Click Support next to the search box in 
the upper-right corner of the Web page. 



In the drop-down box under Browse 
Support, click the down arrow and select 
MacBook Pro. Next, click Downloads 
under the images of the MacBook Pro. In 
the next window, click Mac OS X vlO.6.7 
Update For Early 201 1 MacBook Pro. 
Then, click the Download button. After 
the file has finished downloading in your 
browser, click it and install the update. 

Skype 5.3 

UPDATE: The latest edition of Skype In- 
ternet video calling for Windows, Skype 
5.3, enhances overall call quality fixes 17 
bugs, and makes improvements to the 
entire feature set. Skype 5.3 boasts better 
video quality for mobile devices and 
makes changes to contact profile cards, 
topic editing buttons, and SMS (Short 
Message Service) communication. Skype 
5.3 addresses issues with the following: 
video sending, Outlook contacts, the call 



Smart Computing / June 2011 73 



Tech Support 



SOFTWARE UPDATES 



quality indicator, contact list, call phones, 
instant messaging, screen sharing, file 
sending, profile, and accessibility. 
INSTALLATION: To take advantage 
of the updates and bug fixes in Skype 5.3, 
start by going to www.skype.com. Hover 
your mouse pointer over Get Skype at the 
top of the home page and click Windows 
under the Computer category. Next, click 
Download Skype in the Skype Free box. 
If you're not yet a registered Skype user, 
you will be prompted to create an account 
and then download the Skype 5.3 update. 

iTunes 10.2.2 

UPDATE: Apples 10.2.2 update for 
iTunes resolves several issues. One cor- 
rects a situation in which iTunes may 
become unresponsive when syncing 
with an iPad. The update also addresses 
iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad syncing 
problems that caused iTunes syncs to 
take longer than normal. In addition, 
video previews will no longer skip when 
playing in the iTunes Store. The new 
features and improvements for this 
upgrade include iOS 4.3 syncing with 
iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and en- 
hanced home sharing capabilities. Users 
can browse and play media from iTunes 
libraries by using Home Sharing on the 
three aforementioned Apple devices. 
INSTALLATION: If you don't already 
use iTunes, you will need to download 
the program and update online. To do so, 
type support.apple.com/kb/DL1103 in 
your browser Address bar. The page title 
should be iTunes 10.2.2. Go to the right 
side of the page and click Download. 
Apple takes you to a new page where 
you can download iTunes for Windows 
XP, Vista, or Win7. Click the Download 
Now button to install the 10.2.2 version 
of iTunes. 

For current iTunes users, open iTunes 
on your computer. Click Help and select 
Check For Updates. iTunes will list the 
10.2.2 update if you haven't upgraded 
yet. Select the box next to iTunes 10.2.2 
and click the Install 1 Item button. I 



Update Of The Month 



Mozilla Firefox 4 

UPDATE: The latest version of Mozilla's Firefox browser was released at the end of 
March and features a host of new features and capabilities. Version 4.0 runs on the 
Gecko 2.0 Web platform, an open-source layout engine for Internet-enabled ap- 
plications. Win7 users will get Firefox Sync (which stores your Firefox bookmarks, 
passwords, etc., on secure servers), Direct2D Hardware Acceleration (harnesses the 
technology of your graphics card to load multimedia faster), and a new Firefox but- 
ton that's located in the top-left corner of the browser. The button now contains all 
of your settings, options, bookmarks management, and customization tools. In the 
Smart Location Bar, users can now "search for and switch to already open tabs." 
Mozilla has enhanced Firefox's startup and bookmarking performance, 



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Based on the Gecko 2.0 open-source platform, Firefox 4.0 includes multiple tab 
manipulation features and supports Sync (a secure account that lets you store and 
access personal data saved on Firefox servers) by default. 



changed the default home page design, improved OpenType typography, 
added Panorama view of open tabs, and updated the Add-ons Manager. 

In addition, Firefox 4 supports a Do Not Track advertising opt-out header 
(an add-on that lets you bypass "behavioral advertising" when browsing) and 
better support for HTML5 (Hypertext Markup Language 5). 

New add-ons and themes are available for Firefox 4 at addons.mozilla.org, 
but some add-ons for previous versions of Firefox may not be compatible 
with the new version. 

INSTALLATION: To get all these Firefox features and more, go to www.mozilla 
.com. Locate the Firefox 4 Free Download button (which is for Windows). Click 
the button and the browser will open a new page, which will inform you that 
your download will be starting shortly. When the file download appears, click 
the EXE file and then click Run. To complete the installation process, follow the 
download instructions. 



74 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



Tech Talk 



Answers to users' most common questions about Network- Attached Storage 



A NAS (network- 
attached storage) 
locates all of your 
shared data in 
one place and 
any network user 
that has access to 
the NAS as a 
network share 
can efficiently 
read or write data 
to the NAS. 



Q 



What is network-attached storage? 

When we think of storage, we normally en- 
vision a hard drive inside a computer, holding 
the operating system, applications, and all of 
the files used by that computer. Although it's 
possible to share files from a computer's hard 
drive, the process requires the PC to be on and 
connected to the LAN (local area network) 
with file sharing features enabled. Many PC us- 
ers don't want to leave their systems on all the 



time, much less risk security issues by allowing 
access to other network users. 

A NAS (network- attached storage) device is 
a specially-designed appliance that connects 
one or more disk drives to the existing LAN 
using an ordinary Ethernet connection. Setting 
up a NAS device typically involves little more 
than filling it with hard drives (the same types 
of internal hard drives you would use in a com- 
puter) and attaching an Ethernet cable to the 
device and to an available network port on your 



Network-attached storage 

appliances such as this TRENDnet 

2-Bay SATA l/ll Network Storage 

Enclosure TS-S402 provide file 

access for everyone in the office 

(or everyone you designate). 




Smart Computing / June 2011 75 



Tech Support 



router. Once installed, the NAS can be 
configured using a software utility in- 
cluded with the unit. Each PC user can 
then access the NAS. It might seem 
like a lot of work, but modern SOHO 
(small and home office) NAS units 
such as TRENDnet's 2-Bay SATA I/II 
Network Storage Enclosure TS-S402 
($249.99; www.trendnet.com) make 
the setup process almost automatic. 



to access the NAS. In addition, the 
NAS can usually be configured with 
permissions for various combinations 
of network users and NAS folders, so 
you can authorize some users to ac- 
cess different files and folders than 
other users have access to. Beyond 
that, users may be given read/write 
permission, or simply read-only per- 
mission for files. The control can be 



QWhy would you bother 
putting storage on the 
network? Isn't direct-attached 
storage better? Isn't there a 
risk of files being stolen or 
deleted on a NAS? 

A NAS locates all of your 
shared data in one place and any 
network user that has access to 
the NAS as a network share can 
efficiently read or write data to 
the NAS. Since a NAS is opti- 
mized as a file server, network 
users will typically get better ac- 
cess performance from a NAS 
than they would by simply at- 
tempting to share files from the 
hard drives in an ordinary PC 
(which is not optimized as a file 
server). In addition, the NAS 
consumes a lot less power than 
a PC, so you can leave the NAS run- 
ning on the network constantly, and 
network users can access data anytime 
- not just when someone's PC is on. 

Data security is something that you 
need to think about when setting up 
the NAS. Remember that once set up, 
a NAS will be available as a network 
share. As we mentioned earlier, you'll 
need to add the NAS network share to 
each PC that needs access to the NAS. 
If there are PC users that don't need 
access, don't add the network share 
to their PCs. (The result will be that 
they won't even see the NAS in win- 
dows that display their internal and 
network drives.) 

When you do install the network 
share on a user's PC, he will need to 
log in with a username and password 



Connect Settings Tools Help 







I 



Configur 



\L 



Utilities such as QNAP Finder will automatically allow users to identify 
and configure QNAP NAS units. 



document and email archives, Power- 
Point presentations, and graphics and 
other business artwork. 

You can theoretically install and run 
applications from a NAS, but applica- 
tion performance can become a serious 
problem, thanks to bandwidth issues 
and other obstructions. Remember 
that a PC will need to load the program 
from a NAS device across an Ethernet 
network. Many users may be ac- 
cessing the network at any given 
moment. Network contention, 
while normal for Ethernet, may 
cause the program's load time to 
experience major delays. 

The general rule is to install 
applications on each individual 
user's PC, and then let the users 
store their data on the NAS. For 
example, you'd install Microsoft 
Office on each PC, but store doc- 
uments, spreadsheets, and pre- 
sentations created in Office on 
the NAS. It's not much different 
than PCs with two disk drives. 
A user of such a PC could install 
the operating system and appli- 
cations on the C: drive and then 
store data on the D: drive. 



quite granular, so it all depends on 
how you (or the network administra- 
tor) sets up the NAS. 

As you might imagine, tightening 
access controls takes more time and 
effort on the part of the network ad- 
ministrator, but it's a worthwhile in- 
vestment when access to sensitive data 
must be restricted. 



q: 



q: 



What types of data can you 
'store on a NAS? Can you run 
applications? 

You can store any kind of data on 
a NAS. Home users may store family 
photos, music files, vacation videos, or 
backups of other important data such 
as electronic tax returns and so on. 
Small business users may use a NAS 
device to store customer databases, 



What kind of drives does 
a NAS use? Can I add or 
change drives over time? 

NAS systems use the same type of 
drives that appear in your PC. Most 
SOHO systems will use SATA (Serial 
Advanced Technology Attachment) 
drives for low cost and large storage 
capacity. For example, a device such as 
the QNAP Systems TS-419P+ Turbo 
NAS ($599.99 estimated price; www 
.qnap.com) can use 6Gbps (Gigabits 
per second) SATA drives up to 3TB 
(terabytes) each. It's important to re- 
view the maximum allowable drive 
specs for any NAS that you're plan- 
ning to purchase. 

A NAS often ships without hard 
drives. However, it's not necessary to 
fill every drive bay in the unit right 
away. Many NAS systems connect 



76 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



Tech Support 



drives via hot-swappable trays, so you 
can easily add more drives later with- 
out powering down the NAS. This 
makes it much more convenient to 
add storage over time. 

QHow much storage capacity can 
a NAS device offer? How does 
RAID (redundant array of indepen- 
dent disks) affect storage capacity? 

The total storage capacity of a NAS 
depends on the number of drives that 
a unit can hold, multiplied by the max- 
imum size of each disk. For example, 
the QNAP TS-809U-RP Turbo NAS 
($2,199.99 estimated price) holds up 
to eight SATA hard drives, where each 
hard drive can be 3TB (terabytes), 
yielding up to 24TB of storage. 

Keep in mind that you may want 
to use some of that storage capac- 
ity to protect your data. If you use a 
NAS simply as JBOD (Just a Bunch Of 
Disks), a disk failure would result in 
the loss of any data on that drive. NAS 
systems include support for RAID, 
which groups disks together to pro- 
vide some amount of redundancy and 
prevent data loss. RAID is very effec- 
tive, but will reduce the total available 
space on the NAS. 

For example, RAID 1, which is also 
known as mirroring, is a configura- 
tion in which the contents of one disk 
are replicated to another disk. This is 
simple, but cuts your total storage in 
half. For the TS-809U-RP Turbo NAS, 
24TB of raw storage across eight disk 
drives would then provide 12TB of ef- 
fective storage for users (four disks at 
3TB each, with another four disks at 
3TB each as mirrors). 

QHow can I attach a NAS to my 
network? Will it work on any 
home or SOHO network? 

A NAS attaches to the existing 
network simply by connecting an 
Ethernet cable from the NAS device 
to an available port on your network 
switch or router. The NAS will typi- 
cally receive an IP (Internet Protocol) 




QNAP's TS-419P+ provides four drive bays, 
each holding a SATA drive up to 3TB. 



address from the network's DHCP 
(Dynamic Host Configuration Pro- 
tocol) server (often part of a regular 
broadband router today) and can be 
located and configured easily using a 
software utility that accompanied the 
NAS. In most cases, a SOHO NAS can 
be connected and configured for basic 
use in fewer than 15 minutes, though 
advanced configurations such as user 
access security and RAID group set- 
ups can take significantly more time. 

Q Should I secure the data on my 
NAS? What if it contains data 
for my business? 

Secure the NAS if it contains sen- 
sitive or business-related data — es- 
pecially if your business is subject 
to regulatory compliance guidelines 
(such as PCI regulations for credit 



card transactions). There are numer- 
ous ways to secure your data. 

Some NAS systems may include en- 
cryption tools with the unit when you 
buy it. Otherwise, you can use third 
party encryption tools such as PGP 
(Pretty Good Privacy) to create an 
encrypted folder on a NAS drive, give 
access (and the encryption password) 
to only the fewest possible users, and 
then store the sensitive data only on 
that encrypted folder. 

Remember that encryption can se- 
cure data, but encryption and RAID 
cannot protect data from drive fail- 
ures or human error, so it's still im- 
portant to back up NAS data regularly. 
NAS devices often include software to 
help you back up your data. I 

by Stephen J. Bicelow 



Smart Computing / June 2011 77 



Tech Support 



Tales From The Trenches 



Getting A Charge 



by Gregory Anderson 



I've spent a lot of time as a road warrior, 
and I love traveling — most of the time. 
For several years, I was working from 
the road as often (or more often) than I 
was in the office. Even now I find myself 
away from home regularly on trips for 
both work and play. I know firsthand 
that whether you're working for 
yourself, for someone else, or are 
trying to help with other people's 
technology, one of the biggest 
challenges when traveling is 
keeping your devices charged. 
Anyone who's ever tried to 
work on the road knows the 
dread of forgetting your charger and 
the desperate scramble to find a free out- 
let at the airport. Even on personal trips, 
I need to stay in touch at least in a lim- 
ited way and like to be able to access local 
information. With a little foresight and some quick think- 
ing, I've found a few tricks to make sure all your trips have 
the power they need. After all, when you're non-productive 
on the road it ought to be because you found a great ballpark 
or restaurant and not because you ran out of battery life and 
didn't have the right cable in tow. 

First, get yourself a spare phone charger that has a USB con- 
nector. If you have a standby wall charger (or remember to pack 
one), that's great, too. But USB chargers are usually smaller and 
have the benefit of being usable anywhere you can find or turn 
on a computer. This includes hotel conference rooms without 
a convenient outlet, airport terminals without an open outlet, 
and even long flights or drives where there aren't any outlets at 
all. I can't tell you how many times a USB charger (plugged into 
a laptop) kept my phone running during interminable confer- 
ence calls that always seemed to occur when I was stuck in a 
lobby or on a shuttle bus. 

To plug in multiple gadgets, get a system with interchange- 
able tips for different devices, including phones, notebooks, 
PDAs (personal digital assistants), and tablets. This approach 
cuts down on bulky plugs and cable snags, and helps lighten 
your travel load. Learn from my foolish mistakes; don't be 
tempted to use the charger or tips at home. Keep a dedicated 
set in your travel bag at all times, so you'll never forget them on 
the counter at home, like my "cousin" once did. 

For notebooks, spend a little extra money up front to buy 
an extended life battery. Otherwise, purchase and pack a 




spare battery as an emergency option. An extra battery isn't 
light in your carry-on, but without one, your whole ma- 
chine may turn into nothing more than deadweight halfway 
through the trip. If an extra battery just isn't practical, spend 
the extra money instead on a spare charging cable. Keep one 
in your bag at all times, dedicated for traveling, so you don't 
find yourself scrambling around under the desk while a cab 
waits outside. 

When all else fails, think local. If you're traveling in the United 
States and can get mobile or Wi-Fi reception, you're probably 
within striking distance of a big box superstore or electronics re- 
tailer. I spent most of a morning on a recent office visit in Atlanta 
trying in vain to find someone with a phone similar to mine. 
Then an astute co-worker pointed out an electronics retailer 
about a mile down the road. A mere 15 minutes (and $15) later, I 
was back in business and feeling very sheepish for having driven 
past the same store several times the night before while fretting 
about my rapidly fading battery. Of course, if I'd have realized 
the solution then, I might have stayed in and worked instead of 
discovering that new brewpub. I 



Gregory Anderson is a regular contributor to Smart Computing 
and several other technology publications. He keeps a sharp eye 
(with the help of thick glasses) on computing trends and enjoys 
working with geeks of all stripes — most of the time. 

Share your Web site sagas at 
gregory-anderson@smartcomputing.com. 



78 June 2011 / www.smartcomputing.com 



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